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Kashmiri Pandits meet Mukherjee, oppose dilution of AFSPA

PTI  New Delhi, September 20, 2010
First Published: 16:23 IST(20/9/2010) | Last Updated: 16:25 IST(20/9/2010)

Kashmiri Pandits have impressed upon the central government that there should be no dilution of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and nothing should be done to weaken the state's integration with the country.

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Ahead of the visit of the all-party delegation to Jammu and Kashmir, a group of Kashmiri Pandits met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee here last night and apprised him of their views on the current volatile situation in the state.

The delegation of Pandits, led by Panun Kashmir leader Ramesh Manvati, emphasised that the Centre should not accept demands for dilution or withdrawal of the AFSPA from the state as it ensures crucial legal protection to the security forces.

"The security forces must be provided the constitutional protection as they are playing crucial role in preservation of the country's sovereignty," Manvati said as having conveyed to Mukherjee.

He said the delegation also underlined that nothing should be done to weaken the state's integration with the country and no demand, that could amount to secession, should be accepted.

Mukherjee shared the concerns of the Pandit delegation and assured that the country's sovereignty would be protected at all costs, Manvati said. The delegation, which also included L N Dhar and H L Jad, demanded reorganisation of the state, setting up of a Commission to go into the causes of militancy and ouster of four lakh Pandits from the valley 20 years back.

It also sought modification in the employment package under which 1000 Pandits would get jobs in Kashmir valley. The Pandits said the jobs should be provided in Jammu as situation was not yet conducive for them to go to Kashmir. The Pandit delegation complained the suggestions given by them at the Prime Minister's Roundtable conferences had been completely ignored.

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