The ruling PDP-BJP coalition in Jammu and Kashmir seemed headed for another confrontation Thursday with chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed denying talk of separate clusters for Kashmiri Pandits who wished to return while Union home minister Rajnath Singh insisted the plan stood.
“We won’t make separate clusters for Kashmiri Pandits,” Sayeed assured the opposition in the assembly, asking separatists, too, not to politicise the issue. The government had on Wednesday issued a similar clarification, a day after Singh asked Sayeed to provide land in the state for “composite townships” and reportedly got a positive response from the CM.
Sayeed said he had told the home minister the community cannot live separately and their demand for a ‘homeland’ was also not possible.
But Singh said, “Whatever decision was taken by the central government for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits... remains the same. We had a good talk with the chief minister.”
There are currently 62,000 registered Kashmiri migrant families who have moved from the Valley to Jammu, Delhi and other parts of India. “We are concerned about the security of Kashmiri Pandits and of people living there. We will prepare an action plan keeping all this in mind,” Singh said.
Seconding him, BJP MLA Ravinder Raina said in Jammu, “We are very clear that the return and resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits must be in a dignified manner. They should not have to live in scattered places; they need proper security zones for their survival.”
Alleging the government had promised the Centre 500 kanals for separate clusters, the Congress’ Nawang Rigzin Jora demanded an answer while the National Conference’s Ali Mohammad Sagar accused the CM of being a tool for the BJP’s agenda in J&K.