Youths Rally In Kashmir For Return Of Pandits

2 January 2010
India Today
Naseer Ganai

Srinagar: For the first time since insurgency began in Jammu and Kashmir, a rally was held on Saturday demanding the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley. Kashmiri youth having no political background assembled at Pratab Park in Srinagar Lal Chowk, carrying placards that called for the return of the Pandits. 'There is a widespread sentiment among Kashmiri Muslims that Pandits should return. We have decided to give voice to the popular sentiment,' said Jehangir Raina, a software engineer. He said the campaign didn't have links with any political group. 'Pain is pain, whether it is of Muslims, Jews or Hindus. We want to show solidarity with the Pandits who have suffered for years,' Raina said. The youths have named their organisation Restructuring Economic Assets and Social Obligations of the Nation, or REASON. The REASON, Raina said, was an advocacy group of young professionals and would take up various causes in public interest. The group said a 30 minute sit-in would be organised on the first Saturday of each month to show solidarity with the Pandits. The group, however, opposed the demand of a separate homeland for the Pandits. The state government, too, seems to be gearing up to facilitate the return of the Pandits. On Wednesday, chief minister Omar Abdullah approved the creation of 3,000 posts for unemployed migrants.

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