Kalam promises steps to ensure return of Pandits to Valley
11 May 2006
New Delhi: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on Thursday said efforts would be made to bring peace in the Kashmir Valley and ensure the return of the Kashmiri Pandits. This assurance was given to a delegation of the All-India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS) that called on him to apprise him of the dangers of the continued 'pan Islamic' conspiracy to wipe out Kashmiri Hindus and other minority communities from the State. 'The President told the delegation that the problems of the Kashmiri Pandits would also be looked into,' Shiban Dudha, political adviser of the Samaj told The Hindu after a 30-minute meeting. The delegation attributed the Doda massacre to the lopsided policy of the Central and State Governments towards Kashmir and urged him to intervene in the matter to prevent an exodus of Doda-based Hindus. The AIKS said members of village defence committees should be provided advanced training and sophisticated arms and far-flung villages should be given more security. It told the President that return of real peace in the Valley had to precede any talk of the return of the Pandits. Demands made Led by AIKS president M.K. Kaw, it said the community lived like refugees even 17 years after its exodus from the Valley. Yet the Government was not declaring them as such. The delegation demanded that until peace returned to the Valley, the Government should create political space for the Pandits by nominating them to the Central and State Cabinets and legislatures, and enact Central law guaranteeing civil and Constitutional rights in perpetuity so that the events of the last 20 years were not repeated and the Pandits could go back in honour and dignity.