'Nearly 59,000 Kashmiri Pandit Families Migrated From Valley'24 November 2010
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi: The government today said nearly 59,000 Kashmiri Pandit families are reported to have migrated from the Valley following the outbreak of militancy in the 1989-90. 'Due to on set of militancy in 1989-90, 58,697 families are reported to have migrated from the Valley and registered as migrants,' Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Maken told Rajya Sabha in a written reply today. They have settled in Jammu (38119 families), Delhi (19338 families) and other states (1240 families), Maken said. 'In order to mitigate the hardship faced by the Kashmiri migrants, a cash relief at Rs 1250 per head per month subject to maximum of Rs 5000 per family per month is being provided to eligible families. This scale is effective from July 2009,' he said. For facilitating the return of migrants to the Valley, a comprehensive package of Rs 1618.40 crore was announced in 2008 which provides for various provisions for rehabilitating them, he said. Maken also gave out the data on status of temples in the Valley saying out of the total 430 temples that existed before migration, 260 are intact, 170 damaged and 90 were renovated. In a separate reply to a question on people with refugee status in Jammu region, Maken said 'the number of persons migrated from West Pakistan and settled in Jammu region at present, is approximately 1.5 lakhs.' 'In order to mitigate their problems, the Prime Minister announced a package for J and K on April 25, 2010. The package, inter-alia, provides for concessions to the children and grand children of West Pakistan refugees settled in Jammu and Kashmir in the matter of admission in the technical education institutions approved by the AICTE, bank loan facilities without collateral guarantees provision of vocational training under skill development initiatives,' he said in his reply in Rajya Sabha. 'The West Pakistan refugees are citizens of India and are allowed to exercise their right to franchise in the Parliamentary elections. In so far as the issue of granting them State Subject status is concerned, the state government has not been able to meet their demand as it has legal implications,' Maken said.