JAMMU A Kashmiri Pandit delegation pursuing return of 419 families to the Valley has demanded their settlement in six districts across Kashmir.
The seven-member delegation led by Kashmiri Pandit activist Satish Mahaldar met Union Minister of State for Home G K Reddy and also the BJPs national vice-president and incharge Kashmir affairs, Avinash Rai Khanna.
The delegation submitted a detailed memorandum to Reddy and Khanna with a primary focus on allowing the families to settle down in six districts of Kashmir instead of in proposed separate colonies.
We met MoS Home in New Delhi and discussed our proposal for the safe return to Kashmir. The meeting lasted for almost an hour and we told him that Kashmiri Pandits yearn to return to their homeland after almost three decades, said Satish Mahaldar said.
We also apprised the MoS Home about our detailed meetings with the Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and his support to facilitate smooth return of KPs, he added.
Mahaldar who is resides in Delhi for the past almost three decades, said that the delegation conveyed to the MoS Home that 419 families are willing to return to Kashmir and live again alongside their Muslim brethren. He said the delegation opposed separate townships and colonies as part of the return package.
We made it clear that we are not ready to live in separate colonies, Mahaldar said. He said in the detailed memorandum submitted by them it has been made clear that the families that would return would like to settle down in districts of Kashmir that includes Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramulla, Budgam, Kupwara and Ganderbal. We got a very positive response from the MoS Home.
He assured us that Government of India is committed to the return and rehabilitation of KPs and it is soon going to take steps in this direction. He also assured us that security concerns will also be taken care of.
A source in the MHA said that Centre has agreed in principle to work on the return of KPs and to allow them to settle down in the places identified by them in six districts. The MHA will further study the pros and cons before taking the final call on the issue, the source said.
The KP delegation has also submitted the similar memorandums to BJPs national vice president Avinash Rai Khanna and Centres interlocutor on Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma. In our memorandum to BJPs national vice-president we have advocated for our settlement in different districts to ensure that age-old composite culture is revived. He told us that he will discuss it with the party leadership, Mahaldar said.
It may be recalled that Mahaldar led KP delegation had earlier met Mirwaiz in Srinagar and discussed in detail the issue of return of KPs. Mirwaiz has constituted a committee comprising Hurriyat members that is working closely with the Mahaldar-led group so that ways and means for the smooth return of KPs are reached at.