Minorities Apprehensive Of Returning To The Valley
21 July 2005
New Delhi: Minorities in Jammu & Kashmir - primarily the Pandits and Sikhs - on Thursday reiterated their apprehensions of returning to the Valley, stating that the ground situation was still not conducive. This view was aired at an interface organised here by the National Commission for Minorities between migrants of the strife-torn State and Union Minister of State for Home Shriprakash Jaiswal. Addressing the gathering, Mr. Jaiswal said the return of Pandits was an important component of the return of normality in the State. However, the response he got from the Pandits and Sikhs displaced from the Valley was that there was no question of them returning unless the local population wanted them to return. According to the Pandits, those of their community who had chosen to stay in Jammu were being ignored by the State Government. 'No attention is being paid to our socio- economic status,' was the general refrain. Their contention was that the Government should try to change the attitude of the local population towards minorities. The Minister also sought to allay the fears of the minorities that the Government was holding secret parleys with Pakistan to settle the long-pending dispute over Kashmir. The Minister said there was no truth whatsoever in such rumours and assured them that their concerns would be taken into consideration in any settlement.