Kashmiri Pandits Seek UN Package
24 November 2006
The Times of India
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government on a PIL seeking UN-mandated package for Kashmiri Pandits by giving them the status of internally displaced persons. A Bench comprising Justices K G Balakrishnan and D K Jain sought the responses of the Centre and state government on the PIL filed by NGO 'All India Kashmiri Samaj' accusing the governments of their apathy towards the cause of the Pandits who have been systematically forced out of the valley. Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate Arun Jaitley contended that there was no denial of the fact that Pandits are residing in refugee camps on being forced to leave their homes in the Kashmir valley soon after militancy gripped the state in the early 1990s. They are displaced from their homes, but 'no step has been taken by the governments to ensure their safe return or to rehabilitate them,' he argued. The Centre has deliberately coined the word 'mig-rant' though the Kash- miri Pandits have not left their homes voluntarily, Jaitley said and sought a direction from the court to the governments to protect the displaced persons' properties in the Valley and nullify the auction of such properties under the local law.