No Clusters For Kashmiri Pandits: Mufti

9 April 2015
The Tribune (Chandigarh)

Jammu: Backtracking on his earlier stand on creation of segregated clusters for the Kashmiri Pandit community in the Kashmir valley, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed today said that formation of a homeland for them was not possible. The CM said he was not in favour of separate clusters but wants return of Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) with full honour to complete the composite culture of the valley. 'Return of KPs will be on the basis of secularism and composite culture,' he added. 'My effort will be to create an atmosphere for which I need support of all parties, including those who do different kind of politics, to facilitate the return of Kashmiri Pandits brethren who have left their homes due to insurgency,' Mufti said in the Assembly today in response to a concern raised by CPM MLA, Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami. Mufti said the media had misquoted government that any separate clusters or homeland were being created for the return of KPs in the Valley. The National Conference, separatists and a few other parties had raised concerns over the proposed creation of separate clusters in the valley. During his meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Mufti had reportedly said 500 kanal land was being acquired to construct colonies and migrants who didn't have property in the valley would be accommodated in these townships. Mufti said earlier such colonies were created at different places as well but not more than 15 per cent Kashmiri Pandits returned. The Chief Minister said his government was determined to facilitate the return of Kashmiri Pandits as part of the Kashmiri society and not as an isolated community. He said the government had not acquired any land for setting up any exclusive enclaves. 'Government does not favour any clusterization for return of Kashmiri Pandits but their complete reintegration as part of the Kashmiri society. Some Pandit organizations have also stated that a majority of the migrated community will feel vulnerable if they return to the Valley and live in exclusive zones,' he added. 'Our emphasis will be on taking all confidence-building measures for their dignified return. We are only taking forward a process which was initiated by the previous governments,' Mufti said. Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Nawang Rigzin Jora said that Mufti's u-turn on Kashmiri Pandit re-settlement plan is due to threat from militants and separatists. Jora alleged Mufti had developed cold feet for creation of composite cluster for resettlement of Kashmiri pandits.