Rajnath Promises Rehabilitation Of Kashmiri Pandits

28 April 2015

New Delhi: Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has promised to earmark 50 acres of land as a first installment for rehabilitation of displaced Kashmiri Pandits, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the Lok Sabha today. Replying to a two-day debate on the Demand for Grants of his Ministry, Singh expressed Government's commitment to rehabilitate the exiled Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley. He said the Chief Minister has promised to earmark 50 acres of land as a first installment for this purpose. Earlier, reports had suggested that the Union Home Ministry is planning three-four 'composite townships' of 2,500 families each for Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley, including Srinagar and Anantnag, where half of the proposed flats are expected to be reserved for the community while the rest may be up for sale for Kashmiri Muslims. Separatists in the Valley have slammed the move, claiming that 'creating ghettos' would complicate matters and have urged the Pandits to return to their original homes. The mass exodus of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits took place in 1989 when they were forced to leave their homes by the growing militancy in the Valley. In his 75-minute reply, Singh also rejected the charge that the Narendra Modi Government was 'soft' on separatists. As Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge referred to hardcore separatist Masrat Alam, the Home Minister said he was put behind bars immediately after he led a pro-Pakistan protest. Meanwhile, days after Pakistani flags were displayed in Kashmir by some separatists, the Government today asserted in Lok Sabha that it will not allow anti-national activities even as it expressed readiness to have dialogue with those who eschew violence. Minister of State for Home Affairs Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary, while replying to questions, said all anti-national activities are firmly dealt with and stringent action taken. 'The Government is committed to ensure that no anti-national activities take place which destabilises the situation in Jammu & Kashmir with consequences across the country,' he said in a written reply. His assertion came about fortnight after Pakistani flag was displayed by some separatists in Kashmir. Referring to that incident, Chaudhary said FIR was registered at Budgam police station for the anti-India and pro-Pakistan activities of the separatists on April 15. The FIR was filed under various Sections of IPC and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, including waging of war against the State, sedition, criminal conspiracy, rioting, wrongful restraint, endangering life of personal safety of others, among others. According to the Minister, various separatist groups have been trying to exploit sentiments on various issues. These include 'alleged excesses committed by security forces, misuse of Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act, restriction of movements of separatists, alleged apathy of Government towards flood affected families, issue of return of Kashmiri Pandits etc'. He said that during the last one year, a number of shut down calls were given by the separatists in Kashmir. At the same time, he said, 'The Government remains open to dialogue with those who eschew the path of violence and are willing to work within the framework of the Constitution of India.' Chaudhary also spoke about separatist Masrat Alam Bhat who was released on March 7 after detention under J&K Public Safety Act since October 2010 and was re-arrested on April 17 for seditious activities. The Minister of State for Home Affairs said action has been initiated by the Jammu and Kashmir Government against Bhat under the Public Safety Act. The Minister said the Centre had asked the J&K Government on March 12 to 'vigorously' pursue all criminal cases against Bhat and also keep a close surveillance on his 'illegal activities in close tandem with the Central security and intelligence agencies'. Chaudhary said the State Government has also been advised to examine whether recent activities of Bhat were tantamount to violation of bail conditions, if any. The State Government has been advised to take steps to review the orders pertaining to grant of bail, he said. Asserting that firm action is taken against militants in Jammu and Kashmir, he said this year upto April 19, 21 militants were killed, of whom 4 militants were neutralised while attempting to infiltrate and 5 were forced to return back to Pakistan. Eleven security personnel and four civilians were also killed during this period which saw 32 terrorist incidents, he said. 'Reportedly 80 terrorists of Pak-origin have been killed and 4 terrorists of Pak origin have been apprehended since January 2014, the Minister of State for Home said. In major terrorist incidents, during search operations, various arms, eatables and medicines, among others, recovered from terrorists had labels indicating they were manufactured in Pakistan. This indicate that 'these militants were of Pakistani origin-came from Pakistan,' he noted. 'Besides, interrogation of Pakistani terrorists apprehended from time to time has indicated that training and logistic support is provided to terrorists in Pakistan-PoK, who infiltrate into the State of J&K for terrorist activities,' he said. In 2014, 110 militants were neutralised, of whom 52 were neutralised while attempting to infiltrate while 105 militants were forced to return back to Pakistan when their bids to infiltrate were foiled by the vigil and action of security forces on the border-LoC, he added. The Centre, along with the state government, has adopted a multi-pronged approach to contain cross border infiltration, the MoS Home said. These include strengthening of border management and multi-tiered deployment along the International Border-Line of Control and near the 'ever changing infiltration routes', he added. Another Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said there is close co-ordination among various agencies in sharing intelligence related to J&K. 'All agencies, whether it is State or Central, are working effectively in close coordination (with regard to sharing of intelligence),' he said. With the new Government in J&K, 'we are working in a better coordination',' the Minister said. To a question on fencing of borders, Rijiju said all efforts are being made to secure the borders. These include physical fencing, more security and use of technology, he added. To a query about how many people have been punished in the last five years in J&K for sedition, Rijiju said there are different provisions in the law and added that details can be given separately.