Kashmiri Pandits urge Centre to increase relief, job opportunities in Budget session

As BJP hits campaign trail in Jammu and Kashmir with the aim of winning all five Lok Sabha seats, Kashmiri Pandit body hopes the government will address its demands

Photograph from an anti-BJP protest by Kashmiri Pandits in Aug 2023 (photo: Who Are We Kashmiri Pandit/Facebook)
Photograph from an anti-BJP protest by Kashmiri Pandits in Aug 2023 (photo: Who Are We Kashmiri Pandit/Facebook)

NH Digital

An association of displaced Kashmiri Pandits on Friday urged the Centre to increase their monthly relief amount and allocate a new employment package featuring 5,000 jobs in Kashmir Valley during the upcoming Budget session of Parliament.

A Kashmiri Pandit family, without any member employed in government, currently receives a "meagre" Rs 13,000 per month for sustenance without any enhancement, with the amount having remained unchanged for a decade. Families which include government employees, however, receive no such relief.

"I request the Central government to keep a separate amount for the Kashmiri Pandit community in the forthcoming Budget. I will press for implementation of two things and will urge the finance ministry and lieutenant-governor Manoj Sinha ji. There should be enhancement of relief amount to the community as early as possible in this Budget session," head of Kashmiri Pandit Volunteers (KPV) Vikram Kaul told PTI.

Expressing optimism, he hoped that the BJP government, despite a perceived lack of significant initiatives for the community, would address their demands.

"We had high expectations from the BJP. We view Modi ji as our guide. However, tangible progress has yet to materialise. We remain hopeful for a substantial enhancement of relief, surpassing previous allocations," Kaul said.

The KPV also pressed for a renewed employment package tailored for the community in the valley under the prime minister's package of 2010. "The second demand is to provide a minimum of 5,000 jobs for the youth in Kashmir under a special package following the model of Kashmiri Pandit employees working in the valley. Unemployment within our community is a significant concern here," Kaul added.

The BJP, meanwhile, has hit the campaign trail in Jammu and Kashmir with the aim of winning all five Lok Sabha seats in the Union Territory, senior party leader Ashok Kaul said on Saturday.

"We have started work for the forthcoming elections. The party has appointed Dr Nirmal Singh as sector in-charge for the five Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir," Ashok Kaul told reporters at Anantnag after a party meeting, and said the BJP would set up six election offices in the five constituencies, to begin functioning from 30 January.

"The president of Jammu and Kashmir BJP will inaugurate all the six offices — two offices for Anantnag and Rajouri seats — and one each for the other four seats, on 30 January. We will work with the aim of winning all five seats from Jammu and Kashmir for the BJP," he added.

Saying the Opposition INDIA block was "nowhere", Ashok Kaul said a 'Gupkar alliance' formed in Jammu and Kashmir was also falling apart. The People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration was formed in 2019 after the Centre abrogated Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 and bifurcated the state into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh. 

With inputs from PTI

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