March 2002 News

1,735 Pandit families still live in Kashmir valley

10 March 2002
The Hindu

JAMMU: The Government says the migrants can return only after the situation improves. The Revenue and Rehabilitation Minister, Abdul Qayoom, informed the State Assembly recently that 33,984 migrant families had been registered with the Relief Organisation, Jammu, till January. About Rs. 442.26 crores had spent on their relief and other expenses. Of the 1,735 families that decided not to migrate after insurgency broke out in late 1989, 557 live in Srinagar district, 419 in Anantnag, 313 each in Baramulla and Pulwama, 112 in Badgam and 16 in Kupwara. ''The expenditure has been incurred on tenements, cash relief, free ration and administrative cost,'' Mr. Qayoom said. All efforts were being made to make their lives safe. He said the Centre had approved a plan for their return to the Valley, but it had not been implemented due to continued trouble on the security front. ''They can return only when situation improves,'' he said, adding that initially 26,000 migrant families were registered with the Government and the number went up after killings of Pandits in Wandhama and Sangramapora. The Minister said that a committee, headed by the former Financial Commissioner, Moti Lal Koul , had said that the plan for getting the migrants back involved an expenditure of Rs 2,300 crores. A total of 6,604 Sikh families were living in the Valley and despite the killings in Chattisinghpora and Mehjoor Nagar, they have rejected calls for migration. Of them, 1,757 were in Baramulla district, 1,639 in Pulwama, 1,393 in Badgam, 990 in Anantnag, 570 in Srinagar and 205 in Kupwara. Police pickets have been posted in areas where Sikhs are in majority.


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