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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

It's time Kashmiri Pandits came back: Omar

PTI  New Delhi, December 21, 2012
First Published: 18:35 IST(21/12/2012) | Last Updated: 18:47 IST(21/12/2012)

Promising to restore sense of security in Kashmiri Pandits who left the Valley two decades ago, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Friday asked the community to explore possibility of returning to the state.

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"If words were enough to bring the Kashmiri Pandits back to the Valley, then we would have used those words. But I think in the case of the Kashmiri Pandits returning home, words are not sufficient.

"It is the action that will speak. And the action will speak much louder than the words. The Kashmiri Pandits did not leave because of something they heard, they left because of something they faced. Their sense of security was snatched away from them. Their livelihoods were snatched away. Unless that sense of security is restored in them words are meaningless," Omar said.

He said no matter how much one speaks about it, those words should be followed by actions and those actions must result in Kashmiri Pandits feeling a sense of security to come back.

"Speeches in Parliament or Assembly really do not cut it. Having said so, I do not feel that there has ever been a time as conducive as now for the Kashmiri Pandits to begin to explore the possibility of coming back," the chief minister said during an interaction with mediapersons at an event organised by the Press Club in New Delhi.

A sudden spurt in militants violence had resulted in the exodus of Kahsmiri Pandits from the state in 1990.

Omar said there has not been any targeted attack on the community in spite of militancy and difficult summers of 2008, 2009 and 2010 which saw incidents of violence over Amarnath land issue and stone pelting across the Valley.

"I can't remember the last targeted attack against Kashmiri Pandit community in spite of difficult summer in 2008, 2009 and 2010. In spite of the fact that we are dealing with militancy, there has not been any targeted attack against the Kashmiri Pandits community," he said.

As a good will gesture, the chief minister said the state has taken back a large number of Kashmiri Pandits - both men and women - in government jobs that were reserved for them. "We hope over the time more people will examine the possibility and come back," Omar said.

Asked about measures being taken to check corruption in the state, the chief minister said government was granting sanction "immediately" to prosecute a corrupt person.

"Wherever applications for permission to prosecute is received, permission is granted immediately. A number of other steps have been taken in terms of legislative safeguards. The vigilance commission will come into effect now as the Governor has cleared the appointment.

"You have a Public Service Guarantee Act which is directed at reduction of corruption at the operative level. You have the revival of the Panchyati elections designed particularly to check corruption in rural areas," he said.

Omar said the Government does not talk about measures to check corruption rather it takes action against all instances of corruption.

"We have people who have raised jihad, battle against corruption ... we will take necessary harsh steps to ensure that corruption is reduced and ultimately eliminated," the chief minister added.


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