Return Of Kashmiri Pandits Possible If They Feel Assured:Omar9 June 2011
The Indian Express
Tulmulla: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said while efforts were on to bring migrant Kashmiri Pandits back to the Valley, it will only be possible when the community feels confident about their return. “We are making efforts for their return but they (Kashmiri Pandits) have to be prepared for it. They should feel assured and confident about their return,” Omar told reporters after paying obesiance at the Tulmulla shrine here, 27 kms from Srinagar. The Chief Minister said militancy in the state was on a decline. “Militancy is reduding ... panchayat polls have been conducted peacefully and all communities like Kashmiri Pandits and Sikhs have participated. This should be a ray of hope for them (Pandits) to return,” he said. Omar said he has directed the Inspector general of CID to expedite the verification of Kashmiri Pandit youth, who have been employed under Prime Minister’s job plan in Kashmir Valley recently. “I have directed the IG (CID) to fast track the clearance for them,” he said when asked about why wages were not being paid to the new recruits even after five months of joining the service. Responding to another question, Omar said some influential persons and religious leaders were against the passage of ‘Protection of Temples and Hindu Shrines Bill’ in the state Assembly. “When we were in opposition, National Conference had brought this bill. Unfortunately, some important leaders from (Hindu) community have expressed concerns about it. They said passage of the bill can create a situation like 2008 in the state,” Omar said, adding, these leaders had called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to exert pressure against the passage of the bill. Asked about the empowerment of panchayats in the state, Omar said the government was already working on it and if need be an ordinance will be issued to this effect. “We are already working on it. If need be, we will not wait for the Assembly session (for bringing in necessary amendments). We will issue an ordnance instead, in order to transfer the powers to Panchayats,” he said. Omar said the state chief secretary Madhav Lal has chaired several meetings in this regard.