No separate clusters for Pandits, says J&K CM

Sayeed promises to talk to the stakeholders before taking decision

GN Bureau | April 9, 2015


#Kashmir   #Pandits   #Mufti Mohammad Sayeed   #Omar Abdullah  

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Thursday said that his government has no plans to set up separate clusters for settlement of migrant Pandits in the Kashmir Valley and immediately his predecessor Omar Abdullah called it u-turn.

While assuring communal harmony in the state, the chief minister maintained that the resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits is a humanitarian issue and all stakeholders will be taken into confidence in the decision-making process. Sayeed said: "We have no proposal to set up separate satellite townships for migrant Pandits."

Nearly 250,000 Kashmiri Pandits left for safer places in India because of a sharp rise in killings of Hindus and attacks on their homes at the start of a rebellion by Muslim militants in 1989. It was the largest migration since the 1947 partition of the subcontinent into mainly Hindu India and Islamic Pakistan.

"I want to assure the House that we will not make any separate clusters for Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley (for their rehabilitation)" Sayeed told the Jammu and Kashmir legislature. The House was rocked by opposition protests over the state government's move to create "composite townships" for Kashmiri Pandit migrants who had left the Valley in the wake of militancy over two decades back.

Meanwhile, Omar Abdullah accused Sayeed “of changing his stance” on the proposed composite Townships for Kashmiri Pandits in the valley.

“Will someone please remind Mufti Sb about his answer given to me during Gov. address discussion regarding Jagti type townships in the valley,” he posted on the Twitter.

Omar added, “He (Mufti) was categorical in his assertion that it is the intention of his Govt to build segregated townships for Pandits rather than integration.”

Mufti said that he will take all the stake holders in confidence before accepting Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s request of creating separate zones for Kashmiri Pandits in the state.

"We want them to return to their native places and live honourably among Muslim neighbours...because of misinformation an impression is being created that separate clusters would be set up for Pandits", Sayeed said.

"We do not want to do it in hurry. We will take all the stakeholders on board before taking a decision. We want flowering of secularism in Kashmir so that Kashmir becomes a garden of different varieties of flowers," he said.

The chief minister also appealed to separatists that they should not play politics over the issue as it gives a bad name to Kashmir.

He also appealed to the opposition not to politicise the issue and affirmed to uphold secularism in the valley.

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