Kashmiri Separatists Meet on 'Segregated" Colonies
SRINAGAR: Top Kashmiri separatist leaders are meeting in the summer capital Srinagar to discuss the issue of construction of settlement colonies for ex-servicemen and migrant Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley by J&K government.
The seminar is being held at the Hyderpora residence of veteran Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani and it is being attended by moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq as well as top leaders of other Hurriyat factions.
JKLF chief Yasin Malik, however, could not make it to the seminar since he was detained on Saturday evening by police. His group is being represented by Advocate Bashir Ahmad Bhat, a JKLF spokesperson said.
The separatists have asked the J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti to drop the controversial proposals which are being seen as an attempt to "change the Muslim majority character" of Jammu and Kashmir by "RSS government".
The issue of settling migrant Kashmiri Pandits in "transit accommodations" in the Valley reverberated in the state legislature on Saturday as well with the Opposition urging the government to create an atmosphere for the return of Pandit families to their native places.
“You should create a proper atmosphere for their (Pandits’) dignified return to Kashmir. Caging them will be a bigger sin. Their migration is part of the larger tragedy that has befallen this state. But this land belongs to everybody including Kashmiri Pandits," senior CPI-M leader and MLA Kulgam, MY Targami, said.
He was seconded by the National Conference's Sheikh Ishfaq Jabbar and independent legislator from Langate, Sheikh Abdul Rashid, who asked the government to dump the proposal of building "caged accommodation" for the Pandits.
While the separatists have openly opposed construction of separate townships for Pandits, chief minister Mehbooba has repeatedly maintained that her government wants to settle the Pandits in “transit accommodations” before they can move to their original places of residence in the Valley.
Under the recently announced Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) for Jammu and Kashmir, the government Saturday revealed that 723.02 kanal land has been identified in the Valley for construction of transit accommodations for Kashmiri migrants who were recruited or would be recruited for the State.
However, the Government said suitability of the identified land is being ascertained by a committee constituted for the purpose. “The State Government has asked Deputy Commissioners of Kashmir Valley to identify sites for construction of transit accommodations for employees who are posted in Kashmir. 723.02 Kanal land has been so far identified by Deputy Commissioners in Valley for the said purpose,” the reply reveals.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Rs 80000 crore development package for the State in Srinagar last year which comprises of several components including construction of transit accommodations for the Pandit community. Under the package, the Government of India has proposed construction of 6000 additional transit accommodation units in the Valley for the migrants to whom state government jobs have been or will be provided under the package.