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Rajnath Singh paves path for Pandits to return home

Friday, 13 June 2014 - 6:15am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

Putting BJP's long overdue agenda at the forefront, Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday asked his ministry to take Kashmiri migrants into confidence for their return to the Valley and work out measures that need to be taken up to enable their return to the valley.

Thousands of Kashmiri pandits had to flee the Valley after militancy struck the region in the 80s and 90s. Thousands of Pandit families were forced to migrate from the Valley against the will of the local Kashmiri people. The wide-scale displacement due to fear of life forced the Pandits to leave behind their properties.

In its election manifesto, the BJP had mentioned that it was committed to ensuring the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley with full dignity. The number of displaced people post 1990 migration from the Valley following militant activities increased by six-seven lakh.

While most of the migrated Kashmiri families are now well settled in different parts of the country, thousands still live in refugee camps, especially in Jammu, and continue to face the hardships that come with displacement. Singh's observation came after he and junior minister Kiren Rijiju saw a presentation on the issue concerning Jammu and Kashmir division.

"The home minister asked his officers to ensure that the measures taken up for checking infiltration are further strengthened, and also desired the ministry to take Kashmiri migrants into confidence and work on measures that should be taken up for their return to the Valley," home ministry spokesperson AK Dhatwalia said.

Issues like the security situation, infiltration from across the border, strengthening of the border fence and rehabilitation of surrendered militants were taken up during the briefing.

Schemes such as 'Udaan' for upgrading of skills of youth in order to improve their employability were discussed in detail at the meeting.

An official said that a comprehensive plan is being worked out for the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits.

Enhanced financial assistance, security to life and property, government jobs and other employment opportunities and subsidies ration will be part of the package that can be announced as incentives for the return of Pandits, he said.

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