‘PM’s Rs 1618-crore rehabilitation plan being implemented’
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Monday said the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley is not political but a national issue. He suggested that the Parliament should unanimously pass a resolution committing itself to the return of the Pandits and also express the resolve that no one in future is “displaced within the country.”
Responding to a Calling Attention Notice on Kousar Nag yatra row in Kashmir in the Lok Sabha, he said: “The decision to discontinue the Yatra in South Kashmir won’t impede the plans to rehabilitate the Kashmiri Pandits. I wonder how natives of any part of India can live as displaced persons in their own country. The problem of Kashmiri Pandits should be viewed from the perspective of justice and humanity,” he said.
The Notice was moved by Kavitha Kalvakuntla, Anurag Thakur, Dr Sanjay Jaiswal and Bhartruhari Mahtab.
Elaborating on developments related to the yatra, he said the Kashmiri Pandits “used to undertake this pilgrimage earlier as well through Kulgam route.”
“But ever since turmoil in the Valley and after their displacement, they have been taking the Reasi route in Jammu region,” he said. He clarified that there is no linkage between the participation of Kashmiri Pandits in Kousar Nag yatra and their rehabilitation.
Singh said the state government had given permission to the community members to take the traditional pilgrimage route this year. However, the same was withdrawn by the district administration after protests by separatist groups, he said.
Singh said: “Nevertheless, the pilgrims went to Kousar Nag from Reasi route and prayed there.”
In response to a question, he said the return of Kashmiri Pandits is a commitment made by the BJP-led NDA Government. “When we make a commitment we firmly stand by it and see that it is fulfilled,” he observed.
Earlier raising questions, B Mahtab (Biju Janata Dal) and Anurag Thakur ((BJP) asked the Union government what steps were taken by it after the state government’s “failure” to protect the rights of Kashmiri Pandits to undertake pilgrimage to Kousar Nag.
Mahtab even questioned the Centre’s commitment and wondered as to whether the NDA dispensation is strong enough to protect the rights of Hindus in Kashmir.
Referring to the Centre’s rehabilitation plan, the Home Minister said that the Prime Minister’s Rs 1618.40 rehabilitation plan is currently being implemented.
The package provides for financial assistance for purchase/construction or repair of houses in the Valley; construction of transit accommodations, scholarship to the students; government jobs to the migrant youth; assistance for self-employment, assistance for agriculture and horticulture and waiver of interest on unpaid loans.