Non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits Look To PM For Rehab Package5 November 2015
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Srinagar: The non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits living in the Valley have pinned high hopes on the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and they are expecting the announcement of a package for the rehabilitation of the minority community. 'As Modi is expected to announce a major financial package for J&K during his Srinagar rally on November 7, we have high hopes that measures would be announced for the rehabilitation of our community as well,' said Hindu Welfare Society Kashmir (HWSK) president Chunni Lal Bhat. He said successive governments had ignored the non-migrant Pandits and it was high time the Centre announced a package for them. 'We stayed back in Kashmir after the eruption of militancy and most of us are internally displaced in the Valley. The Centre and the state are only concerned about the return and rehabilitation of migrants but do not care about those who stayed back in Kashmir and continue to face several issues, especially those related to employment and rehabilitation,' Bhat said. Around 630 non-migrant Pandit families are at present living across the Valley and they, for long, have been alleging step-motherly treatment by the government. They have also been staging regular protests in the past to highlight their demands. Bharatiya Janata Party state general secretary (organisation) Ashok Koul said the issues faced by the non-migrants had been brought to the notice of the party and it would ensure that the same were resolved. 'A small number of non-migrants are currently living in Kashmir. Whenever the Centre announces a package for the community (migrants), we will ensure that some benefits reach the non-migrants as well,' Koul said. Pertinently, the HWSK demands include minority status for the non-migrant Pandits, job package for youth, rehabilitation for internally displaced members and passing of the Protection of Hindu Temples and Shrines Bill in the state Assembly. Demand for minority status: Around 630 non-migrant Pandit families are at present living across the Valley. For long, they have been alleging step-motherly treatment by the government. Their demands include minority status for non-migrant Pandits, job package for youth, rehabilitation of internally displaced members and passing of the Protection of Hindu Temples and Shrines Bill in the state Assembly.