August 2021 News

J&K Govt Issues Order To Protect Properties Of Kashmiri Pandits

19 August 2021
India Today
Sunil Bhat

Srinagar: In a major move, the J&K administration has issued an order for the preservation and protection of immovable properties of displaced Kashmiri Pandits. The order has asked the officials to implement the J&K Migrant Immovable Properties Act, 1997 strictly and in letter and spirit. Relief-Revenue department has been asked to prepare an online portal for displaced Pandits so that they can register their complaints about encroachments etc. The district magistrates of all 10 districts of the Kashmir Valley have been asked to undertake survey-field verification of the properties of Kashmiri Pandits within 15 days. They have been told to file compliance report to the divisional commissioner, Kashmir. The officials have been directed to evict the encroachers and illegal occupants in a time-bound manner. The order has been issued after many Kashmiri Pandit organisations raised concern over the encroachment of the properties of displaced communities in the Kashmir valley. Meanwhile, the members of the displaced Kashmiri Pandit community have welcomed the decision of the J&K, but at the same time, the members of the community have said that this is too little and too late. 'We laud the J&K UT administration for issuing this order. For last three decades, encroachment upon properties of Kashmiri Pandits continued unabated and the administration did nothing to punish encroachers or vacate the properties of Pandits. We hope the govt walks the talk this time,' said Amit Raina, coordinator, Roots In Kashmir. India Today TV also visited the largest refugee camp of Kashmiri Pandits in Jagti on the outskirts of Jammu city. Speaking to India Today TV, the camp dwellers welcomed the administration's latest move, but raised questions over the non-fulfillment of promises made to Kashmiri Pandits by the successive governments. They said the government is not serious as far as mitigating the sufferings of the displaced community are concerned. They also slammed the successive governments for failing to check the encroachments and illegal occupation on the land of Kashmiri Pandits in the valley. On the other hand, the BJP has said that it is committed to giving justice to displaced Kashmiri Pandits. 'We welcome the decision of the J&K government. Properties of the Kashmiri Pandits, which have been illegally occupied by the anti-social elements in the valley, will be retrieved and returned to them. Kashmiri Pandits have suffered a lot in last three decades. We will give justice to the displaced Kashmiri Pandits,' said Ravinder Raina, J&K BJP chief. The Congress hit back at the BJP and accused the saffron party of making fake promises to the Kashmiri Pandits. 'Yes, those who have encroached upon properties of the Kashmiri Pandits must be punished. Illegally occupied properties of the Pandits must be retrieved & given back to them. However, those who have legally bought properties of Pandits shouldn't be harassed. This is not a new order. The Act was introduced in 1997 and from time to time changes and updation have been made. Why is BJP taking credit for a law, which has been in existence since 1997?' said Ravinder Sharma, chief spokesperson, J&K Congress.