Former J&K CM Omar Abdullah Slams Plan For Pandit Townships As 'ghettoisation'

8 April 2015
Daily Mail
Naseer Ganai

Jammu: The idea of composite townships for Kashmiri Pandits came under heavy criticism on Wednesday with the Opposition National Conference and separatists attacking the move by the PDP-led coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir. Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah termed the idea of composite townships 'ghettoisation of Kashmiri Pandits', while his party National Conference stated it was an attempt to divide the state on religious lines. Separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Muhammad Yasin Malik described it as a move to create a state within the state and make 'Israeli kind of settlements in Kashmir to fulfill old desire of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)'. A file photo of people in New Delhi observing January 19 as the Kashmiri Pandit Exodus Day +4 A file photo of people in New Delhi observing January 19 as the Kashmiri Pandit Exodus Day 'No right-minded Kashmiri will support the ghettoisation of Kashmiri Pandits, housed in segregated inherently unsafe camps in the Valley,' the former CM and working president of National Conference said, while voicing his concerns over the issue through Twitter. This comes a day after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh asked J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to provide land in the state for 'composite townships' for Kashmiri Pandits. Omar Abdullah said: 'I very much doubt very many Kashmiri Pandits would like to return to the valley just to be housed in ghettos.' +4 Omar Abdullah said: 'I very much doubt very many Kashmiri Pandits would like to return to the valley just to be housed in ghettos.' 'The chief minister assured the Union home minister that the state government will acquire and provide the land in the Valley at the earliest,' a Press Information Bureau (PIB) handout, released after the meeting, said. Promising his help in the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits, Omar tweeted: 'No right minded Kashmiri will oppose the return of Kashmiri Pandits to their homes in the valley. I will do everything possible to support the return of Pandits to the Valley in keeping with our composite culture & Kashmiriyat.' In another tweet, Omar said: 'I very much doubt very many Kashmiri Pandits would like to return to the valley just to be housed in ghettos, segregated & isolated.' Earlier, National Conference general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar said composite townships would be detrimental to the idea of reconciliation between the two communities. 'Such tactics will have an adverse effect on Jammu and Townships for Kashmiri Pandits on shaky ground Kashmir and it will not be the first time that the PDP would have compromised on the basic tenets of 'Kashmiriyat' for the petty trappings of power,' Sagar said. Senior separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani also termed the proposal of establishing composite townships as abject surrender of the chief minister before the BJP and the RSS. Geelani called for peaceful protests against the move after Friday congregation and a complete shutdown on Saturday. Geelani accused Mufti of giving up on issues like release of political prisoners, withdrawal of AFSPA and return of power projects to the state. 'Now he has accepted and assured the BJP to implement a very old plan of RSS in Jammu and Kashmir and according to it on the pretext of settling Kashmiri Pandits another state will be created within the state and Kashmir will get divided on religious lines,' he alleged. Separatist leader and chairman of pro-independence, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, Muhammad Yasin Malik, said he would extend all help to Kashmiri Pandits to settle at their original places.