Kashmiri Pandits have been persecuted, massacred and exiled, and till today, they are awaiting justice. Contrary to the false promises of the previous governments, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has taken it upon himself to ensure the rehabilitation of the 3 lakh Kashmiri Pandits displaced from the valley.
According to a report by Zee News, Amit Shah along with senior officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is formulating an “effective policy” for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in the state. It has come to light through reliable sources that Amit Shah had chaired several meetings with the key officials of MHA’s Kashmir division in this connection, during the past one month. The Kashmiri Pandits, exiled in 1989 haven’t been able to come back home till date.
According to sources, the central government is planning to build secured residential areas for the displaced Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley. Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik on Friday had hinted that the centre is devising a concrete plan to rehabilitee the Kashmiri Pandits. He also added hopefully that if things go according to the plan, the policy should be announced soon.
According to sources, the policy may be announced after the Amarnath Yatra. It is going to be a huge step in the direction of rehabilitation of the persecuted community. The Kashmiri Pandits have been waiting for a step like this since the past 3 decades.
Earlier, on 16th July, the Minister of State for Home Affairs, G Kishan Reddy had stated in the Lok Sabha that PM Modi had approved of an ambitious 920 crore project in the valley for the construction of 6000 transit homes. The central government has also decided to provide a relief of Rs. 13,000 every month to every Kashmiri migrant family, which includes the Kashmiri Pundits who were exiled.
The fact that Kashmiri Pandits occupy the centre stage of Shah’s policy on Kashmir is further illustrated by the fact that Shah disclosed in the lower house of the Parliament that the government has taken steps to empower the Kashmiri Pandits. He stated, “We have empowered governance in Ladakh and steps have been taken for the empowerment of Kashmiri Pandits by increasing cash assistance for them.”
Amit Shah is also keen to seek fresh delimitation of assembly seats in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Currently, there are 37 seats in Jammu, 4 in Ladakh and 46 in the valley. Therefore, the valley enjoys a position of advantage as far as assembly polls are concerned which is unfair to Jammu region, which is a larger area.
All these measures for the Kashmiri Pandits are in addition to the centre’s strategy to effectively tackle external and homegrown militancy in Jammu and Kashmir. The Home Ministry is also focusing on welfare schemes, especially aimed at widows, victims of terror, handicapped and senior citizens residing in the state.
Amit Shah has thus made it clear that Kashmiri Pandits will no longer be denied their due. They are a persecuted community which faced heart-wrenching violence bordering on ethnic cleansing followed by decades of neglect by successive governments. It is time to make amends for the wrongdoings of the past.