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Manmohan applies balm on migrants

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said it had pained him to see Kashmiri Pandits, who had made great contributions to Indian thought and civilization, living as hapless refugees in their own country.
PTI | By Neeraj Santoshi, Jammu
PUBLISHED ON NOV 19, 2004 01:46 AM IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said it had pained him to see Kashmiri Pandits, who had made great contributions to Indian thought and civilization, living as hapless refugees in their own country.

The PM visited the Muthi migrant camp on Thursday. The camp houses more than a thousand Kashmiri migrant families.

Manmohan Singh, who is the first Prime Minister in the last 15 years to visit the camp, said he had come to share the pain of the migrants. "I am completing my sixth month as Prime Minister. In these months, I wished to come to you and apprise myself of your problems and difficulties. It pained me to see so many members living in such small rooms today."

Terming his visit to the migrant camp as the beginning of a new chapter, Singh said the UPA government would work sincerely towards mitigating their problems. The government would construct two-room sets for Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu and Delhi, he added.

Terming as genuine the demands of Kashmiri Pandits — permanent rehabilitation, jobs, compensation for their damaged houses and temples, minority community status— the PM said: "I also accept your demand of sending an inter-ministerial team from the PMO to this place, to assess your requirements in employment, education, health and rehabilitation".

Earlier, the Muthi migrant camp, which houses families who have lost their kin to terrorism, was abuzz with hope that the PM would announce some special package. Schoolkids dotted the path of the PM's route holding placards listing their demands.

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