March 2003 News

J&K Pandits react sharply to relocation plans

13 March 2003
The Hindustan Times
Press Trust of India

New Delhi: Kashmiri Pandits on Wednesday rejected Jammu and Kashmir government's plans to take the community members to two locations in the Valley and asserted that 'there can be no dignified return till dignified talks' over the matter. Seven major organisations reacted sharply to the statement of Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani in Parliament that the government had earmarked Rs 10 crore for resettling Pandits at Kheer Bhavani and Mattan in Kashmir. 'This has confirmed the worst doubts of the displaced community,' said a joint statement issued by Kashmiri Samiti, All India Kashmiri Pandit Conference, Kashmiri Pandit United Forum, Vichar Manch, All India Kashmiri Samaj, Displaced Employees Forum and Kashmir Culture and Education Society. 'Any attempt to herd groups of displaced people to any part of Kashmir valley without first ensuring adequate security of life and livelihood for them is fraught with serious consequences,' said the statement issued hours after Advani's remarks. They alleged that the Mufti Sayeed government wanted to 'condemn Kashmiri Pandits to a ghetto life' and felt that the move was aimed at 'creating a gulf between the two communities' in the Valley.


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