The Narendra Modi Government has flagged the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley with "dignity, security and assured livelihood," an issue on which it will lay special emphasis during its tenure. Perhaps finding a mention in President Pranab Mukherjee's joint address to the Parliament for the first time, it was welcomed by Kashmiri Pandit organisations which have been fighting for the lakhs of people from the community who fled the Valley in 1990 due to ethnic cleansing during militancy.
"Special efforts will be made to ensure that Kashmiri Pandits return to the land of their ancestors with full dignity, security and assured livelihood," the President said while outlining the agenda of Modi government for the next five years. The BJP had mentioned return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants to the Valley in its manifesto.
According to official data, 24,202 families migrated after militancy raised its ugly head in the Valley in 1990. A total number of 38,119 families are registered with the Jammu and Kashmir Revenue and Relief Ministry till now. The Kashmiri Pandit organisation, however, put the number of total displaced people anywhere between six to seven lakh now.
Kashmiri Pandit organisations welcomed the move of the Government and said it was for the first time that the plight of the displaced community had been flagged by the Central Government as its priority. General Secretary of All India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS) Romesh Raina while welcoming the step said finally the serious issue of displacement of Kashmiri Pandits has got its rightful place in the mainstream politics of the country.
"Our request to the Government would be that while framing the blue print for the return and rehabilitation of the community, they should take the aspirations and needs of the displaced into the consideration and must ensure the political rehabilitation of the people through Constitutional mechanism lest its not refouled again," he said.