‘Let’s debate over ‘contentious’ issues’

SRINAGAR: The PDP-BJP government Thursday said that separate colonies for Kashmiri Pandits are not possible in Kashmir and the Pandits have to live within the society, but said that it wants a debate over the issue.
“Government is trying for dignified return of Kashmir Pandits. And if the Hurriyat, Unionist parties have any objections within our plan, we can have a debate with them how to facilitate their return. I appeal the separatists and mainstream parties that if you find any objections, kindly tell us how to go,” government spokesperson and Minister for education, Naeem Akhtar, told reporters here at Banquet Hall.
“We are open to debate on this. There is a consensus on the return of the Kashmiri Pandits. But how will we bring them back. Let’s us have a debate on it and let the civil society lead the debate. We will follow if the civil society leads the campaign,” Akhtar said.
The government’s response came a day after Kashmiri separatists threatened 2008-like uprising over the setting up of “Sainik Colony” and separate townships for Kashmir Pandits.
“What we will get from the like 2008 and 2010 uprisings? We have to think beyond that. Our economy, tourism have started picking up, education activity has started. We should not derail that,” he said.
To questions on constructing “Sainik Colony”, the government spokesperson said, “proposal and demand of Sainik Colony by state subjects ex-servicemen have been going on for long time.”
“But no land has been identified yet as the Sainik Board has been told that there is no land available for the colony,” Akhtar said.
Akhtar said that the “special status” of the state is “inviolable” as the PDP-BJP coalition has mentioned it in the Agenda of Alliance.

NC registers strong opposition on KP colonies
National Conference senior leader and political advisor to Working president Omar Abdullah Tanveer Sadiq said that the party will not allow separate colonies for Kashmiri Pandits.
“NC has made it clear, be in government or in opposition, that it wants dignified return of Kashmiri Pandits. But the party will not allow separate colonies for them. If you want temporary accommodation for migrants, then build them for all the migrants, Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs who migrated from here. But you cannot raise separate colonies for a single community,” Tanveer Sadiq told KNS.
“And if the aim is for a separate camp within four walls, then how is it dignified return to home. It is like cantonment not integration,” the Political advisor to Omar said.
On the “Sainik Colony” proposal discussed in NC government, Tanveer Sadiq said that there “is huge difference in bringing the issue in agenda and then implementing it”.
“The PDP-BJP coalition has failed to provide good governance and instead created uncertainty among people by raking up controversial issues,” he said.


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