SEPARATISTS Sunday welcomed the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the valley but unanimously opposed setting up of separate townships for them or Sainik colonies.
At the first such seminar of separatists from different groups in eight years, moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq proposed setting up of a committee for “people-to-people contact” with Kashmiri Pandits for their return to the valley.
The seminar, held at Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s Hyderpora residence, was jointly organised by the two Hurriyat factions and the JKLF. While both Geelani and Mirwaiz attended the seminar, JKLF leader Yasin Malik could not make it as he was re-arrested Saturday following his release on bail.
In his address, Mirwaiz said: “I propose that we should set up a committee for people-to-people contact with Kashmiri pandits. Any attack on our Muslim identity would be opposed tooth and nail.” He said the separatists would oppose setting up of Sainik colonies, separate Pandit townships and the implementation of a new industrial policy by the state government.
Geelani also welcomed the return of Kashmiri Pandits but vowed stiff resistance against separate colonies. “They can come and live as our brothers here,” he said. “But we would never allow separate Pandit colonies.”