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PM promises rehab plan for Pandits

November 18, 2004 21:07 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the Centre would soon set up an inter-ministerial group to formulate a full-fledged rehabilitation plan for Kashmiri migrants dislodged by militancy.

"Your problems highlighted in the memorandum are genuine. We will soon set up an inter-ministerial team, which will come here and discuss with you your problems for the formulation of a comprehensive plan, including rehabilitation," Singh told the community at the Muthi Camp in Jammu on Thursday evening.

"Our government will try its best to find a solution to your problems. I want to start a new chapter for you," he said. The PM announced that "two-room quarters would be set up for you in Delhi and Jammu".

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The announcement came in response to a memorandum submitted to Singh by the Kashmiri Pandit organisation demanding a realistic plan for their rehabilitation.  

Manmohan Singh said he was "pained" to see their suffering in the camps.

In the six-page joint memorandum, the Pandits rejected the concept of rehabilitation in cluster houses and separate townships. Instead, they demanded a 'realistic' plan for their 'safe' return to the Valley.

The Kashmiri Pandit organisation said, "We want a geo-political differentiation, which in essence means granting the community the right to live in its native land with all political and other rights. The Centre should formulate a realistic plan for the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the valley."

Real return requires a fresh innovative approach, it said. "It has to be considered whether this persecuted minority of Kashmir can return to scattered habitation and clusters and live safely there," the organisation said.

While the goodwill of the majority is essential for rehabilitation, a real return must secure the minority in Kashmir against both the tyranny of disruptive elements as well as future uprooting, the memorandum said. "Therefore, in all, it needs a comprehensive vision of a secure return instead of adhocism we have seen so far," the organisation said.

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