Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council today unanimously passed a resolution for creating a conducive atmosphere for return of displaced Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley, a day after the Assembly took initiative in this regard. As the House assembled, the National Conference (NC) member Bashir Ahmed Veeri raised the issue about such a resolution being unanimously passed by the Assembly.
In a significant development yesterday, the Assembly has passed the resolution for creating a conducive atmosphere for the return of the Pandits to the Valley, with the state government asserting it will go ahead with the proposal of setting up transit camps for the displaced community which is being strongly opposed by separatists and some mainstream groups.
Leader of the House and Education Minister Naeem Akhter also favoured the passage of resolution unanimously and said he strongly believed that Kashmir today needs displaced Pandits back “to restore the composite culture in Valley”
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“This is an important issue. We want to send a message from this House to them as a message in this regard has already been sent from the Lower House,” he told the Council.
Terming Kashmiri Pandits as inseparable part of Kashmir, the minister said they have reached to different parts of the world and are on the top position in the corporate sector, but “Kashmir is feeling a huge vacuum due to their absence.”
“The migration of Kashmiri pandits was not a migration by any means…it was an end of a civilization…if we have to restore that civilisation and culture back in Kashmir, we have to bring back Kashmiri Pandits to Valley with dignity and honour for which our doors and hearts are open and welcoming,” Akhter said.
“But the process of their return should not be restricted to sloganeering alone. Whenever we tried to give practical shape to their return, unfortunately what has happened last year is before all of us,” the government spokesman said.
Akhter was alluding to the strong opposition from the separatists and some mainstream groups against setting up of transit accommodation for Kashmiri Pandits as part of their return to the Valley from which they were forced out in 1990.
Last Monday, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had also slammed those opposed to transit accommodation for Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley, and questioned how the return of “our people” could bring about a demographic change.
Government should talk to this civilized community in this regard. Displaced Pandits should come back to Kashmir and “restore the composite culture in the Valley,” he said. Later the Chairman of the Council passed the resolution unanimously by voice vote.
Speaking to reporters later, BJP MLC Surinder Ambardar said that it is a welcome step towards creation of suitable conditions and secure environment apart from confidence building measure for the return of Kashmiri Pandits back to the Valley.
“We welcome this step but at the same time there is need to talk to the leadership of the community, particularly Panun Kashmir (which believes in carving out homeland in Kashmir Valley),” Ambardar added.