DEPARTURE FROM THE MANIFESTO: NO PLAN FOR RETURN OF KASHMIRI PANDITS TO VALLEY, WHILE EXPENDITURE ON SEPARATIST LEADERS RS 500 CR IN 5 YRS

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The Hush Post: With BJP government at the centre and BJP-PDP coalition in the state, there is no plan for Pandit townships in the Valley for now. In a reply to an RTI activit Rohit Choudhary’s query this was stated by Union ministry of Urban Affairs.

There are over 60,000 displaced Kashmiri Pandits who were made to leave their homes overnight after militancy broke out in January 1990. About 42,000 settled in Jammu and 20,000 in Delhi and other parts of the country. The PDP-BJP government had in January said that they had identified more than 100 acres in the Valley to build a township for Kashmiri Pandits at a cost of Rs. 375 crore. After this the centre approved transit camps for the community in the Valley. However, since then there has been no talk or progress on the subject. Jammu-based Choudhary had earlier alleged that the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government were spending on Kashmiri separatist leaders, who speak against India, congratulate the Pakistan cricket team, while nothing was being done for the return of Kashmiri Pandits.

The state government had disclosed in the Assembly sometime back that over Rs 500 crore were spent on the security cover of 1,472 political activists including Kashmiri separatist leaders in the state in the last five years Rs 126 crore more than what would have cost having a township for Kashmiri Pandits.

The BJP had said in its manifesto that it will ensure the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley which is their home-land. National Conference leader Sameer Kaul had earlier alleged that the Kashmiri Pandits had lost their regional identity when the PDP formed an alliance with the BJP. Kaul, who was the national spokesman of the PDP earlier, said Kashmiri Pandit community lost their regional identity the moment they were “sold out” to the BJP by the PDP.

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