PDP-BJP Govt forgets promises to Pandits

No progress in implementation of rehabilitation package

PDP-BJP Govt forgets promises to PanditsWith the PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir tangled in controversies and policy paralysis creating pessimism in the state, 3.5 lakh displaced Kashmiri Pandits have lost hope of any concrete plan for their rehabilitation and resettlement in the Valley.

Seven months after assuming charge, coalition partners are silent on the promises made in ‘Agenda of the Alliance’, the guiding document which binds two ideologically different parties.

Surprisingly, after large-scale protests by separatists against the composite township project in April, Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre is quiet about mitigating the sufferings of minority community, which was forced to leave the Valley after eruption of insurgency in 1990.

Recently, reports said the Union Home Ministry had prepared a Rs 2,000-crore revised rehabilitation package for Pandits under which jobs and accommodation would be given in the Valley, but so far neither was there any announcement nor any groundwork to take the community into confidence.

The return of Pandits is contentious issue that has brought coalition partners at loggerheads on several occasions since the formation of the PDP-BJP government in the Muslim-majority state.

Consensus has eluded them on ways to implement even the plan announced by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. At the moment, Pandits are getting the usual dole from the government, which includes cash relief and free ration.

Nearly 2,000 youth employed under a package announced by the Congress-led UPA government in 2008 was implemented by then government led by Omar Abdullah between 2010 and 2012.

The ‘Agenda of the Alliance’ had mentioned to take social and humanitarian initiatives to solve issue confronted the community which migrated en masse from the Valley after the eruption of insurgency in 1990, but no debate was initiated on how to take the first step in this direction.

“We have been hearing about proposals and plans, but nothing seems to have been done on the ground,” said SL Pandita, president of the Jagti Tenement Committee.

“The state government has maintained total silence and the same old assurances are being given. The community expects the Centre to at least implement plans announced by the previous Congress-led government in 2008,” he said.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs had mentioned giving financial assistance, jobs and transit and cluster accommodation for rehabilitation of Pandits, but not much headway was made.

“We expected the BJP to take some immediate steps to resolve our issues, but are hearing the same old rhetoric. Coalition partners are using their energy in unnecessary controversies,” said Vinod Pandit, chairman of the All Party Migrant Coordination Committee. On April 25, 2008, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced Rs 1,618-crore employment-cum-rehabilitation package for displaced Pandits.

Not a single family was able to return to Kashmir primarily because of the fear of militants and lack of initiative by state and Central governments to execute the plan.

Related posts