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Minority status to Kashmiri Pandits on anvil

The indication was given by AR Antulay during an interaction with the representatives of Pandits.

india Updated: Apr 22, 2006 20:50 IST

The Centre on Saturday indicated willingness to consider minority status for Kashmiri Pandits provided the demand for the same came from the community.

The indication was given by AR Antulay, minister of newly-created portfolio of Minority Affairs, during an interaction with the representatives of Pandits in Kashmiri Samiti in New Delhi.

"I am ready to start the process for granting of minority status so that they can avail various benefits but the demand for the same should come from the community," Antulay said.

However, the Pandit representatives did not show immediate enthusiasm for the move.

"Any move, including grant of minority status, that keeps us away from our homeland is unacceptable," said LN Dhar, President of Kashmiri Samiti.

He said "we need to study the implications of such a move before making a demand for the same."

Various other issues and problems faced by the Kashmiri Pandits, hit hard by terrorism in the Valley, also figured in nearly two-hour long interaction.

Among other demands, the representatives asked for regularisation of contractual Kashmiri teachers in Delhi Administration and MCD schools, hike in monthly cash relief given to Kashmiri migrants, permanent settlement of tehbazaris given to such migrants and creating jobs for unemployed youth of Pandit community.

Antulay, in turn, assured them that he would make proper representations to the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister concerning the issues.

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