Has govt shelved the proposal to build townships for KPs in Valley?


Afaq Bhat

Srinagar, Nov 30: The central government seems to have put a lid over constructing separate clusters for displaced Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley.
Recently Ram Krishan Swarnakar Director in the Ministry of Home Affairs said that MHA has no plan to set up composite townships for displaced Kashmiri Pandit migrants and he put the ball in the court of Jammu and Kashmir government.
Swarnakar asked the information seeker to get the details from the J&K government.
A source said that plan to set up composite townships for KPs has been put in limbo at least for the time being as the entire focus at present is on restoring normalcy in Kashmir. “The state government had even identified the land for setting up separate townships for displaced Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley but the proposal has been shelved due to escalation of violence,” the source added.
He said, “Very few Kashmiri Pandits want to return to the Valley as most of them are settled in different states and even in foreign countries. It’s just a handful of people who are raising hue and cry about resettling Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley.”
A Kashmir watcher said, “The Government of India and J&K government have realized that situation in Kashmir is far from normal and if a few Kashmiri Pandits return also they could become soft targets. To avoid any untoward situation the proposal to call KPs back has been put in the cold storage.”
He said, “Kashmiri Pandits, who were provided government jobs in the Valley are living in isolation and do rarely come out from the secured areas and zones. To resettle Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley at present is not a good idea. The Centre has already given up the plan.”
A politician said that there is no doubt about the fact that Kashmiri Pandits are a part and parcel of Kashmiri society but calling them back at this juncture is not feasible. “There are many people in Kashmir who have opposed separate clusters for Kashmiri Pandits. They want them to settle along with the majority community. A few Kashmiri Pandit families who could afford have already purchased properties in civil line areas and these families visit Kashmir during summer months. They have not returned permanently but do visit Kashmir whenever they feel like coming,” he added.
A Kashmir Pandit leader said, “No one can stop us from returning to the Valley. The state and central governments have to ensure that we return to Kashmir and we are provided secure areas where we can live. Government cannot shelve the plan to re-settle us in the Valley.”
He said, “Only a few members of our community have purchased the properties in Kashmir. All of us cannot afford it. That’s why we are asking the government to build the separate townships for us.”