January 2000 News

Pandits for J&K reorganisation

19 January 2000
The Hindu

NEW DELHI: A delegation of Kashmiri Pandits today met the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, and demanded reorganistaion of Jammu and Kashmir to create a "self-administration Union Territory" for the country.

The five-membered delegation of Panun Kashmir - a group of Hindu migrants - demanded creation of a separate Union Territory for Kashmiri Pandits, to be known as Panun Kashmir, within the Valley by reorganisation of the State to fulfil the legitimate political aspirations of different regions.

The group, lead by Dr. Aghishekhar, included film-maker Mahesh Bhatt. The delegation narrated to the Prime Minister the harrowing experience of the migrants after their exodus from the Valley. They wanted cash relief being given to the migrants enhanced from Rs. 2,400 per familiy per month to Rs. 7,000. Their other demands included reactivation of Central Government's Kashmir Cell and making it more vibrant and responsive towards the community's aspirations by including at least three Kashmiri Pandits in it.

The delegation sought infrastructural support for creating a Kashmiri Pandit cultural and heritage centre at Jammu for perserving their rich heritage.

Earlier, a march was also organised to mark the completion of 10 years of migration.

Mahesh Bhatt had specially flown in from Mumbai to express his solidarity with migrants and urged the Prime Minister to solve their problem.


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