Jammu and Kashmir assembly unanimously passed a resolution for the return of displaced Kashmiri Pandits and others migrants to the valley on Thursday.
Speaker of the Assembly Kavinder Gupta said, “A conducive atmosphere should be created for the migrants’ safe return.”
Former Chief Minister and National Conference working president Omar Abdullah moved the resolution. He said, “It has been 27 years since people left the Valley. We should all come together so that Kashmiri Pandits, Sikhs and even Muslims, who left Kashmir due to the turmoil, can be resettled and made to come back to their homes.”
Naeem Akhtar, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader supported the resolution. He stated the Kashmiris need Pandits more than the Pandits need them and their absence has created an “ethnic imbalance”. “Pandits’ return is necessary to complete our civilisation and create an ethnic equilibrium. The migration remains a horrific part of our history.”
Abdul Rehman Veeri, the minister for road and building and parliamentary affairs in PDP-BJP government welcomed the move. After the question hour, speaker Kavinder Gupta moved the resolution which was passed by voice vote.
But Engineer Abdul Rashid opposed the decision as “politicisation” of the issue. Rashid and BJP MLAs Ravinder Raina and Sat Sharma exchanged heated arguments at the House.
Rashid opposed that the passing of resolution won’t solve the problem. No Kashmiri Pandits will return by passing just a resolution. “They should initiate a political recourse.” He questioned if the government or the National Conference have ever talked with any group to understand the problem.
In 1989, after an armed uprising broke out in Kashmir, hundreds of Pandit families escaped by 1990.
In the meantime, a delegation of the All State Kashmiri Pandit Conference (ASKPC) submitted a memorandum to Governor N.N. Vohra. The memorandum sought the Governor’s involvement for “vacation of encroachments from Kashmiri Pandits’ lands especially in and around religious places, temples and shrines in the Valley”.