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Mehbooba offers transit houses for Pandits

nation Updated: May 29, 2016 08:07 IST

SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday said the PDP-BJP alliance in the state was committed to bringing back Kashmiri Pandits and other migrants to the Valley.

“Kashmiri Pandits will come back and live happily here and so will other migrants, it’s our commitment,” she said.

Mehbooba added that the government would set up “transit accommodations for Pandits till they feel safe to return to their original places of residence”.

“They have been out of the state for the last 25 years, some of them don’t even remember their own addresses, so how is it possible for them to feel safe and return to their original homes?” she said.

Mehbooba added that the construction of transit accommodation was part of recommendations made by the Prime Minister’s Working Group, formed in 2005, and includes migrant Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. She clarified that the colonies will be composite in nature, with 50% reservation for Kashmiri Pandits.

“This is a facility for migrant s. Do n’ t we have Muslim migrants? Don’t we have mig rants in Jammu? There are Sikhs and other people among them. If we are saying 50% will be Kashmiri Pandits and the rest others, you are saying it is an Israel-like situation,” she added.

Mehbooba expressed happiness that all political parties, be it mainstream or separatist, are on the same page regarding the return of Pandits to the Valley.

Drawing an analogy with political workers who left their native places out of fear, Mehbooba asked, “How can you ask the migrants to return to their native places when our political workers — be it from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Cong ress, National Conference or any other party — are living under security? You have even provided them personal security of ficers (PSOs). We have never told them to return to their places… nobody has ever asked why we have made a colony for them,” Mehbooba said.

The chief minister said she needs the Pandit community to fill in the gaps in various fields.