A Kashmiri Pandit delegation pursuing return of 419 families to the Valley has demanded their settlement in six districts across Kashmir.
The seven-member delegation led by Kashmiri Pandit SatishMahaldar met Union Minister of State for Home G K Reddy and also the BJP'snational vice-president and incharge Kashmir affairs, Avinash Rai Khanna.
The delegation submitted a detailed memorandum to Reddy andKhanna with a primary focus on allowing the families to settle down in sixdistricts of Kashmir instead of setting up separate colonies for them.
"We met MoS Home (G K Reddy) in New Delhi and discussed ourproposal for the safe return to Kashmir. The meeting lasted for almost an hourand we told him that Kashmiri Pandits yearn to return to their homeland afteralmost three decades," said Satish Mahaldar.
"We also apprised the MoS Home about our detailed meetingswith the Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and his supportto facilitate smooth return of KPs," he added.
Mahaldar, a Kashmiri Pandit settled in New Delhi for thepast almost three decades, said that the delegation conveyed to the MoS Homethat 419 families are willing to return to Kashmir and live again with theirMuslim brethren.
He said the delegation "opposed separate townships andcolonies as part of the return package."
"We made it clear that we are not ready to live in separatecolonies," Mahaldar said. He said in the detailed memorandum submitted by themit has been made clear that the families that would return would like to settledown in districts of Kashmir that include Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramulla,Sopore, Budgam, Kupwara and Ganderbal. "We got a very positive response fromthe MoS Home. He assured us that Government of India is committed to the returnand rehabilitation of KPs and it is soon going to take steps in this direction.He also assured us that security concerns will also be taken care of."
A source in the MHAsaid that Centre has agreed in principle to work on the return of KPs and toallow them to settle down in the places identified by them in six districts."The MHA will further study the pros and cons before taking the final call onthe issue," the source said.
The KP delegation has also submitted the similar memorandumsto BJP's national vice president Avinash Rai Khanna and Centre's interlocutoron Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma. "In our memorandum to BJP's national vice-president we have advocated for our settlement in different districts to ensurethat age-old composite culture is revived. He told us that he will discuss itwith the party leadership," Mahaldar said.
It may be recalled that Mahaldar led KP delegation hadearlier met Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in Srinagarand discussed in detail the issue of return of KPs. Mirwaiz has constituted acommittee comprising Hurriyat members that is working closely with theMahaldar-led group so that ways and means for the smooth return of KPs arereached at.
According to Mahaldar, 2.75 lakh KP families are settled indifferent parts of the country and majority of them are willing to return toKashmir.