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PDP rules out exclusive colonies for Kashmiri Pandits

May 20, 2016 00:11 IST

Jammu and Kashmir government on Thursday ruled out exclusive colonies for Kashmiri migrant Pandits but said it would consider any alternative plan, even from separatist groups, to rehabilitate the minority community in the Valley.

"The proposal is to make land available where everyone can live. There is no question of an exclusive colony. That is out," Government spokesman and Minister for Education, Naeem Akhtar said.

"Everyone, whether separatists or mainstream, is saying that Pandits must return and that they are welcome. The People's Democratic Party, the National Conference, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party -- all are saying that they are a part of our society.

"But, when they are returning after 25-30 years, where will they live? They are coming back in an entirely changed scenario.

Akhtar said there has to be a "foothold where anyone can live whether a Pandit or a Kashmiri who belongs here or a even Kashmiri from outside."

"Every state subject, perhaps even Dogras of Jammu would like to live here," he said.

The Minister said if the separatist groups have any alternative to the proposal, the government would consider that.

"If you (people) have any alternative to this, you can tell us. If they – (Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah) Geelani, who is a votary of this, or his other colleagues, have an alternative to this, kindly tell us, we will consider, no issues.

"It is a cause dear to them as it is to us. We have placed our cards before you, you do the same," he said.

On reports of establishing a Sainik Colony for ex-servicemen, Akhtar said, "This is nothing new. It has been going on for many years but it has not reached anywhere."

"A class of people put up a demand for establishment of the colony, but no decision has been taken. But it is only the ex-servicemen from the state who have requested for land. The last report from our government on it is we do not have any land. When there is no land, how will we go ahead with it," he said.

On state subject law, Akhtar said, "there is no room for violating state subject law. State subject law is a protective umbrella and we cannot even think that it can be violated."

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