Govt To Regain Confidence Of Displaced Pandits: Mufti

23 May 2015
The Daily Excelsior
Avtar Bhat

New Delhi: To achieve a breakthrough in bridging the gap between the displaced Pandits from Valley and majority community of Kashmir due to 26 year long turmoil in the State, Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed held a meeting with leaders of various displaced Pandit organizations here, today. The Chief Minister who took the initiative in this regard organized a meeting with leaders of various KP organizations at JK House Prithvi Raj road here. The meeting was also attended by BJP national general secretary, Ram Madhav and Party MLC Surinder Ambardar. The leaders of KP organizations who attended the meeting included Vijay Aima, president AIKS, its other leaders, Moti Kaul, Col (retd) Tej Tickoo and Dr Ramesh Raina, JKNM chief and well known scholar, Dr K N Pandita, JKVM president Sanjay Ganjoo and its other leaders Manoj Bhan and Ajay Bharti , Moti Lal Malla of Koshur Samut, Jammu and Kashmir Study Circle representative Jawahar Lal Kaul and social activist, Ashok Braru. According to sources, the Chief Minister informed the Kashmiri Pandit leaders that every possible step will be taken for regaining the confidence of the community. He informed them that Kashmir is incomplete without Pandits and the situation created in 1989-90 which led to the mass exodus of the community had created a bad impression. He assured the KP leaders present in the meeting that his Government will take every possible step in bridging the gulf between the two communities and it will not lose the opportunity this time in this regard. Sources said that Mr Sayeed while listening to the problems of the KP leaders said that encroachments will be completely checked and every possible step will be taken for restoration of the confidence of the community. He informed the community that whatever reservations are there from both the sides they can be overcome through process of healthy dialogue and his Government will take a broader initiative in this regard. This has been the main reason of holding this meeting with the displaced leadership today, sources added quoting Mr Sayeed. Sources said the Chief Minister also informed the members that it is a beginning and no broader contour of return can be discussed at this juncture. He asserted that his Government wanted to play a mandatory role in this regard. He said he wanted to identify the general issues of the displaced Pandits and seek a feed back from the community, sources added. Speaking in the meeting, BJP national general secretary, Ram Madhav asked the KP leaders to be positive on return issue and be unanimous on this issue instead of raising different voices. He said instead of launching a misinformation campaign on social media, the community should be positive on all issues. Sources said the KP leaders strongly advocated for the passage of Kashmiri Hindu Shrines and Temples Bill. They expressed grave concern over the encroachments on the land of displaced Pandits and their religious places and demanded immediate removal of the same. The KP leaders said that Government has failed to implement the employment package and 6000 jobs announced by former Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh in 2007 till date. They said besides about 2000 employees who have been appointed in last eight years under PM's job package are facing problems in Kashmir valley and till date the Government has failed to provide accommodations to them. Sources said the Pandit leaders informed Mr Sayeed when the Government could not provide facilities to these 2000 youth how the community can trust it. They demanded that Government should show seriousness in this regard and solve the problems of these employees besides implementing the job package in letter and spirit. The KP leaders also made it clear to Chief Minister that the return issue be discussed by taking all groups and factions of the community into confidence. A memorandum was also submitted to Chief Minister highlighting the various issues of the community. It said 'ever since the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in 1989-90 , the Governments in both, Centre and State, have done little to rehabilitate the displaced community in Kashmir, during its quarter century of exile. As a matter of fact, recent events in Kashmir have once again shown the separatists in true colors. Their opposing our return to Kashmir on one pretext or the other, have dealt a serious blow to the aspirations of the Pandits, who are determined to return to their land which has been their home for 5000 years'. It said 'we are of the opinion that the State Government has a Constitutional responsibility to rehabilitate us in the Valley; separatists cannot dictate terms on this issue. It is of utmost importance that the State Government initiates steps which will induce confidence in the beleaguered community. This alone will convince the community that the State Government is serious on our return with dignity and honor in a secure environment', the memorandum added. The memorandum reiterated the displaced Pandits demand that a Commission of Inquiry must be instituted at the earliest to go into the whole issue of targeted killings of Kashmiri Pandits in 1989-90, and the subsequent exodus from Kashmir. It must also reopen prosecution cases against self proclaimed killers who are roaming around free in Kashmir. It stressed on implementation of employment package and also pointed out that denying jobs to the unemployed on the basis of the candidates being over age, is sheer injustice, keeping in mind the circumstances of their displacement and living conditions. Such conditionality must be done away with, it added. It further demanded reservation of seats in State's professional colleges, financial support to small businesses men of the community, setting up of Medical Emergency Fund, removing encroachments, passage of Temples and Shrines Bill, Issue of Backward Area Certificate to the affected People, improvement in Jagti and transit accommodations. During the meeting, it was pointed out that the displaced Kashmiri Pandits are the greatest stake holders in community's rehabilitation in Kashmir. Therefore, it is they who must have the maximum say in deciding on the modalities of the return and its methodology. It demanded that the State Government must put in place a mechanism, which must engage the community in regular dialogue to work out the agreed principles of return to Kashmir. Besides, the political leadership, it must have Kashmiri Pandit leaders representing various KP organizations so that the community's concerns are addressed.