Govt Equally Committed To Pandits, Refugees From PoK: PM
14 July 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said his Government is equally committed to the rehabilitation and rights of Kashmiri Pandits and refugees from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Pakistan. Praising the people of Jammu for their tradition of pluralism, Singh said they had welcomed with open arms thousands of migrants, refugees and displaced people over the years. These include a large number of Kashmiri Pandits and refugees from PoK and Pakistan, he said in his address after being conferred an honorary doctorate by the University of Jammu. 'I assure all of them that our Government is committed to their proper rehabilitation and ensuring that they get equal rights,' Singh said while saluting the people of Jammu for maintaining a culture of peace and tolerance in difficult times. The city, he said, is believed to have been founded when Raja Jambhu Lochan, on a hunting expedition, came upon a tiger and a goat drinking from the same water tank. When the Raja sought an explanation, his aides are believed to have explained that the soil of the place excelled in virtue and for that reason, no living creature bore enmity against another, he said. It is this remarkable tradition of pluralism that the people had inherited, he noted. Singh also said there is a need to revitalise the spirit of entrepreneurship that Jammu has been famous for all over northern India. 'Jammu has been known as a city of free enterprise, of job- creators and not job-seekers, and we hope that this tradition can be sustained and further strengthened,' he said. Universities can play a vital role in this through a structured academia-industry interface and by setting up business-development incubators that facilitate start-ups and new business ventures, he pointed out. Noting that the beautiful State of Jammu and Kashmir has always had a special place in his heart, Singh said its development and well- being has been on top of his agenda in Government. Singh also said he was impressed by the strides that the University of Jammu has made in recent years and complimented its functionaries, especially Vice-Chancellor Amitabh Mattoo. The steps taken by the varsity to establish itself as a centre for excellence are impressive, he said while commending its achievements in teaching and research, especially in fields like high-energy physics, glaciology, bio- technology and strategic studies. Singh said the university has actively participated in extension work, in partnership with civil society, in disaster management, empowerment of rural women and efforts to strengthen the region's culture of tolerance and peace. 'It is precisely this blend of academic excellence, social relevance and aesthetic sensibility that our universities must nurture,' he said.