Hurriyat Warns Against "Israeli Type Settlements" in Kashmir
SRINAGAR: The Hurriyat Conference and JKLF have warned the Centre against building "Israeli-type settlements" for migrant Kashmiri Pandit families who want to return to their homeland.
"The division of Kashmiris on religious lines and isolation of the Pandits from the (Kashmiri) society will not be tolerated by the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Both the communities collectively will not let this to happen. Pandits are a vital part of our society," veteran Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani said.
Geelani's remarks come a day after the Union Home ministry revealed in the Lok Sabha that it has asked the J&K government to identify land in the Valley where the Kashmiri migrants could be “suitably rehabilitated”.
“Further, action would be taken once the land is identified,” minister of state for Home Affairs, Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary, said in a written reply to a question by Rajan Vichare in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
According to official data, there are about 62,000 registered Kashmiri migrant families, who left Kashmir valley at the peak of armed insurgency in early nineties. About 40,000 registered Kashmiri migrant families are living in Jammu, about 20,000 in Delhi/NCR and about 2000 families are settled in other parts of India.
On November 18 last year, the Centre approved a rehabilitation package of Rs 2000 crore for providing additional 3000 state government jobs to the Kashmiri migrants.
The plan also envisages construction of 6000 transit accommodations in the form of 'Composite Townships' in Kashmir Valley for the migrant families, an idea which has been resented across the political spectrum in Jammu and Kashmir.
Geelani said these townships will act as “safe zones for communal agents and the Sangh Parivar people and there is "every possibility" that these townships will be used to "change the demography of the Jammu and Kashmir".
"India is leaving no stone unturned to change the Muslim majority state into a Hindu state. But, both Pandits and Kashmiri Muslims will not let it happen. India is playing a very dangerous game by not only wanting to divide the Kashmiri society on the religious lines but also want harm the freedom struggle of Kashmiris,” Geelani said.
Meanwhile, JKLF chairman, Yasin Malik, who is hospitalised in New Delhi, said any plan to turn Kashmir into “another Palestine” will be resisted by the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Kashmir Pandits are our brothers and every Kashmir wants them to return to the valley and live as in past alongside their Kashmiri Muslim brethren but no Kashmir will ever accept separate Israeli type colonies for them," he said in a statement.
Hitting out at the state government, Malik claimed that the plan to build 'Composite Townships' for Kashmiri Pandits has been hatched by the RSS, the ideological mentor of the BJP which has a power-sharing arrangement with the PDP in J&K.
"Kashmiris have in past resisted this RSS ploy executed by PDP-BJP alliance and we will in future also remain steadfast against any such ill designs,” he said. The Hurriyat general secretary, Shabir Ahmad Shah, also opposed the move.