Will Aid Return Of Kashmiri Pandits, Govt Says

11 August 2014
Times of India


New Delhi: The issue of rehabilitation of Kashmiri pandits took a personal turn in the Lok Sabha on Monday with BJP member Anurag Thakur taking a veiled dig at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, accusing him of not even raising the issue in so many years. Thakur refrained from taking Rahul's name. Seeking a clarification on a 'calling attention motion', Thakur said, 'It saddens me that some leaders call themselves Kashmiri pandits but when the issue is raised, they keep silent.' Home minister Rajnath Singh said the issue is of national importance for the NDA and a new package is being finalized for the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants. He noted that the Centre had earmarked Rs 500 crore in this year's budget for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants but a revised proposal had been subsequently received from the state government envisaging financial implication of Rs 5,820 crore. Responding to a calling attention motion, Singh asserted the government will not rest till it ensures return and rehabilitation of the Kashmiri migrants and wanted Parliament to adopt a resolution to endorse this commitment. At present, a total of 60,452 families of Kashmiri migrants are registered in the country, of which 38,119 are in Jammu, 19,338 in Delhi and 1,995 in other states. Raising the issue, TRS member K Kavitha said the government should not just 'experiment' with the Kashmiri migrants. Describing the killing of the community as 'ethnic cleansing', Kavitha said the government should ensure a retrial of cases and ensure convictions to bring confidence among the people. JP veteran LK Advani, too, participated, perhaps for the first time in this Lok Sabha, seeking implementation of the recommendations of an earlier standing committee during the UPA rule on the issue of Kashmiri Pandits. 'As far as the government's plan for return and rehabilitation of the Kashmiri migrants to the Kashmir valley is concerned, it will not be affected by the recent incident of 'Kausar Nag',' the home minister said. The issue of Kausar Nag yatra had led to a major controversy between the Jammu-based groups and Kashmiri Migrants Committee but it has subsided, he said.