Union Minister of State (PMO), Dr Jitendra Singh on Sunday criticised Kashmir-based leaders who, according to him, are resisting return of Kashmiri pandits to the Valley, stating that they (the leaders) were unable to comprehend the huge cultural vacuum created by pandit exodus in Kashmir.
Addressing a function organized by a social organization here today, Dr Jitendra said, "those of the Valley leaders who have reservations or are resisting the return of Kashmiri pandits to the Valley are, in fact, suffering from ignorance because they are unable to realize that exodus of Kashmiri pandits from the Valley has left a huge cultural and civilisational vacuum in Kashmir."
He also criticised separatist leaders for opposing 'return of pandits to Kashmir.'
"I remind the separatist leaders of Kashmir that the constitution that gives them the freedom and right to oppose the return of Kashmiri pandits, also gives Kashmiri pandits the same right to forbid the separatist leaders from purchasing properties and settling their kith and kin in other parts of the country," Dr Jitendra said.
He pointed out that, "Whenever the Kashmiri pandits return to the Valley, the loss actually will be suffered by Jammu, Delhi and other places where they had settled for the last nearly three decades and contributed in enriching the local cultural and social milieu."
Dr Jitendra cautioned against attempts by certain elements to create a division among different groups or refugees and said, "BJP is committed to equally address the grievances of all the sections of refugees, including those from West Pakistan, Pak-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) and those uprooted by terrorism and Indo-Pak wars from time to time. There is no contradiction or conflict on this issue and BJP is committed to fulfil the aspirations of each section of refugees as per their respective requirements and needs."
Meanwhile, the Union Minister of State said that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was an equal partner in the coalition government in J&K and there should be no misgivings about that.
"BJP Ministers in the State government enjoy equal authority and equal say in every decision making and therefore, nobody should get away with the impression that BJP is there in the coalition only to stay in power," Dr Jitendra said. "Whether it is AIIMS or IIT or the Lake project, BJP leadership is committed to fulfil the promises made to the Jammu region," he added.
Dr Jitendra said, "BJP thrives on the political legacy of its founding father Shyama Prasad Mukherjee who attained martyrdom on the soil of J&K and therefore, as the political successors of Mukherjee, we owe it to the common people as well as the Party Karyakartas to live up to the objectives and goals set by our founding fathers."