Kashmiri migrants slam Centre for saying 1678 of them have returned to Kashmir in 2 years
Union MoS for Home Nityanand Rai on Tuesday said in Lok Sabha that as many as 1,678 Kashmiri migrants have returned to Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370
Kashmiri Pandits have slammed the Narendra Modi-led government for saying that “1678 migrants have returned” to Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 for taking up jobs under Prime Minister’s Development Package.
Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai on Tuesday said in Lok Sabha that as many as 1,678 Kashmiri migrants have returned to Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 for taking up jobs under the Prime Minister’s Development Package announced in 2015.
The minister also said that as per information provided by the government of Jammu and Kashmir, the land of 150 applicants has been restored.
However, Kashmiri Pandits claim that the BJP-led government has been making only tall claims without "doing anything" on the ground.
“The claims made by the Centre that 1678 Kashmiri Pandits have returned to Kashmir after abrogation of Article 370 is misleading. Providing employment under the Prime Minister’s Development Package package does not amount to the return of Kashmiri Pandits. The package was started by the Dr Manmohan Singh-led government and during his tenure 3000 Pandits were provided employment. There are scores of employees of central government departments from Uttar Pradesh or Bihar in Kashmir. How can the Government say that those provided employment have returned to Kashmir,” Chairman, Reconciliation, Return & Rehabilitations of Migrants, (an organisation fighting for the rights of Kashmiri Pandits), Satish Mahaldar asked.
He claimed that the Centre was making Kashmiri Pandits a “scapegoat”. “I am a Kashmiri Pandit based in New Delhi. Tell me what the government has done for us. Nothing has changed on the ground,” he said.
He said the government talks about renovation of 50,000 temples in Kashmir. “Where are they (temples)? Who will pray when Pandits don’t live here?” he asked.
He said there were some migrant Kashmiri Pandits who often appear in TV discussions and try to create a rift between various communities.
Chuni Lal, a Kashmiri Pandit, who did not migrate from Kashmir, said the government has “totally ignored” the Pandits who did not leave the valley.
“There are 808 Kashmiri Pandit families who did not leave the valley. Government is not concerned about us then how can they bring migrants to the valley? We stayed in Kashmir because of our Kashmiri Muslims not because of the government. Nothing is being done to facilitate the return of migrant Kashmir Pandits back to the valley,” Chuni Lal said, who is also president of Hindu Welfare Society Kashmir, (Socio-religious organisation of Kashmiri Pandits).
The 60-year-old Chuni Lal lives with his wife and son in Srinagar. “We never left Kashmir. We never received any threat. We feel secure here among our Kashmiri brethren,” Chuni Lal said.
A Kashmiri Pandit at Sheikhpora in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district said he and his family did not move outside the colony after the recent killings.
“This Pandit colony at Sheikhpora is home to over 100 Pandit families. Although we are safe inside this colony as it has proper security, we can’t go outside to do the work. Some have to attend their offices and we can’t stay inside four walls for 24 hours. Government must ensure a conducive atmosphere for Pandits in the valley,” he said, wishing not to be named.