July 2006 News

Kashmiri Hindus seek separate working group

29 July 2006
Indo-Asian News Service

Jammu: An organisation of displaced Kashmiri Pandits Saturday demanded a separate working group to look into the problems of the community, whose members fled the Kashmir Valley in 1990s for fear of persecution by Islamic militants.Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, chairman of the Panun Kashmir Movement (PKM), said the prime minister's first working group on confidence building measures within Jammu and Kashmir could not deal with the issue of rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits (sect of Hindus) as well as return of Kashmiri youths who had gone to Pakistan administered Kashmir in 1990s for training in arms.'This is bizarre,' he told reporters here, adding that clubbing of the two issues was like 'rubbing salt into the wounds of Kashmiri Pandits'.Chrungoo, whose organisation supports the demand for a separate homeland for the community, said that the successive governments in New Delhi had neglected the community. 'This working group is yet another manifestation of this,' he said.'We love India, that is why we are suffering. But the central government is taking us lightly simply because we are patriotic. This is an insult to patriotism,' he alleged.The PKM leader wanted the government to 'wake up and do something on a priority basis for the community'. 'Time is running out,' he warned.Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced five working groups at the conclusion of the second round table conference on Kashmir in Srinagar May 25.The meeting of the first working group was held in Srinagar last week, in which Kashmiri Pandit representative Agnishekhar participated.


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