Jitendra favours honourable return of Pandits
With return of Kashmiri Pandits topping the agenda of Narendra Modi government, Union Minister Jitendra Singh today favoured creation of a "conducive atmosphere" for them to go back to the Valley. Suggesting that the migrants should be inspired to go back to their place of birth, he said "the very culture of Kashmir, the composite culture which the Kashmir boasts of, is incomplete without the presence of Kashmiri Pandits over there."
Singh, Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office, hoped that coalition government of PDP-BJP in Jammu and Kashmir would take into considerations the "priorities and concerns of the community" and lay down conditions for their return.
"I would say that I am strongly in favour of the return of Kashmir Pandits but of course the return has to be with dignity and with security and we have to create an atmosphere where the Pandits feel prompted and inspired to go back to their place of birth," he told reporters here.
There are about 62,000 registered Kashmiri Pandit families in the country, who migrated from the Valley due to the onset of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir in the early 1990s.
About 40,000 registered Kashmiri migrant families are living in Jammu, around 20,000 in Delhi-NCR and about 2,000 families are settled in other parts of the country.
The Minister's comments come after the state government recently conveyed to the Centre for assessment of at least three sites identified by it in Jammu and Kashmir for setting up colonies for displaced Kashmiri Pandits.
Union Home Ministry officials have advised the state government to finalise the land as early as possible so that construction works of colonies for Kashmiri Pandits could be started.
"Nobody will like to stay away from his place of birth. If the situation are conducive for return, having said that of course the conditions of return have to be primarily laid down taking into cognisance the priorities, the concerns of the Kashmiri Pandit community itself. Whatever, they be.
"I am sure the coalition government (there) would keep itself abreast of it so that the Kashmiri Pandit community is not left out because if it is left out then it is not only going to be disadvantageous for the community per se but it is going to be disadvantageous for others as well," he said.
Singh, who represents Jammu and Kashmir's Udhampur constituency in Lok Sabha said, those who tend to directly or indirectly come in the way of return of Kashmiri Pandits are not only harming them but the displaced community also.
"They are depriving themselves the rich heritage of Kashmiri which actually flows from the fountain head of Kashmiri Pandit," he said.