May 2016 News

Hurriyat, Govt Have Tacit Understanding: Pandits

20 May 2016
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Sumit Hakhoo

Jammu: A day after the PDP-BJP government succumbed to the pressure of separatists and announced that it has no plans to create exclusive colonies for resettlement of displaced Pandits, community leaders today alleged there is a tacit understanding between Hurriyat Conference and government to stop Hindu minority's return to the Valley. Education Minister Naeem Akhtar had said on Thursday that separate colonies to house 3.50 lakh Pandits will not be constructed. He added that they will have to live along with the majority community whenever the process to bring them back is implemented. Community members living in camps in Jammu say they are quite surprised that the government and separatist parties are opposed to even construction of transit camps for the youth who are likely to get recruited under the Prime Minister employment programme. 'Real issue is whether the two communities trust each other. Pandits could start their lives in neighbourhoods where their residential properties have been burnt, encroached or sold. The social environment has also changed in past two decades,' said SL Pandita,president,Jagti Tenement Committee (JTC). A generation was brought up in squalid camps of Jammu while those born in Kashmir after the exodus had little interaction with each other. Social bonding which existed before the eruption of militancy in 1989-90 was shattered when Muslim neighbours expressed their helplessness to Hindus in face of militant groups. 'Civil society and political leaders in the Valley have clear understanding that Hindus should not be allowed to settle back. Successive governments are just making hollow promises. As per government now Hurriyat leaders will decide what is the best option for minorities,' said Dr Ajay Chrangoo, chairman, Panun Kashmir (PK). In 2014, an announcement by the Central government to establish composite township for return and resettlement was met with strong opposition from separatists who gave it a communal colour comparing it to the Israeli-type settlements in Gaza. However, BJP MLC Surinder Ambardar said that government is not doing anything new. 'It is not a separate township but land at Baramulla has been identified to create transit accommodation for 3,000 youth who will be recruited under an employment package,' said Ambardar. Although PDP and BJP had agreed in principle to examine rehabilitation and employment package announced by then United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in 2008, so far there is no agreement on the approach to implement it.