Centre leaves Kashmiri Pandits High and Dry
One of the protests by Kashmiri Pandits against their rehabilitation process
NEW DELHI: Putting all controversies to rest, the central government informed the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that the government does not have any plans to create separate zones for Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley.
Replying to a question by nine Members of Parliament whether there was any proposal to create separate zones for Kashmiri Pandits, Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary said, "No proposal to create separate zones exclusively for the Kashmiri Pandits in the state of Jammu and Kashmir is under consideration."
The response came as a shock to many in New Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir, embarrassing the coalition PDP-BJP government in the state which had earlier announced that the government was actively considering "composite townships" for the Kashmiri pandits in "Homeland Kashmir" .
However, Chaudhary informed the Parliament that Kashmiri migrants are being paid an enhanced cash relief of Rs 1,650- Rs 2,550 per head from May 1.
The ceiling for cash relief per family was enhanced from Rs 6,600 to Rs 10,000. This is being paid to nearly 21,700 of the 62,000 families who have been registered as Kashmiri migrants.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed last month told the State Assembly that the government is earmarking land for developing composite townships for Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley.
His government has come under strong attack from the National Conference as well as the All Parties Hurriyat Conference on this issue.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has flayed the decision, while the Hurriyat has held protests across the Valley at what it sees as a proposal to segregate Kashmiris along religious lines.
Informed sources had confirmed to The Citizen, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had directed Mufti Sayeed to earmark land in the Valley on a priority basis.