M A I N   N E W S

Kashmiri Samiti rejects APHC stand on migrants
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 21
The Kashmiri Samiti today told the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr Prakash Jaiswal, that it would not allow the Hurriyat leadership to have a say in the safe return of the 7.5 lakh Kashmiri migrants to the valley.

At a meeting organised here by the National Commission for Minorities, the Kashmiri Samiti president Sunil Shakdher rejected the deliberations during the recent meeting in Srinagar between the All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leaders and migrant Kashmiri Pandit leaders.

“Only some individuals were invited to the meeting and it did not represent our interests,’’ he told the minister.

Mr Shakdher urged Mr Jaiswal to take up the issue of verification of identity cards of 33,000 Kashmiri migrant families during his visit to the valley. He said the Jammu and Kashmir Government had failed to verify the domicile documents that were necessary for issuing ID cards.

The Kashmiri Samiti president also suggested the creation of a separate homeland for Kashmiri migrants in the valley and conduct a survey to know the status of 10,000 houses that they were forced to leave in 1990.

Representatives of Sikhs, living in the valley, demanded property rights for 70,000 Sikh families living there. They said the Sikhs had braved the attacks, threats and the massacre in Chittisinghpora, Mahjoor Nagar, Post Kareen and Ramban and continued to stay in the valley.

The representatives said the Sikh families living in Kashmir valley were facing threats from extremists. Prominent among those who represented the Sikh community in the valley were the president of the Jammu and Kashmir Gurdwara Committee, Mr T.S. Wazir, Rajya Sabha MP, Mr T.S. Bajwa, former Minister, Mr Rangil Singh and former Minister and Kashmir Akali Dal president, Mr Charan Sigh Bali. The former Chief Secretary, Mr I.S. Malhi was also present at the meeting.

The National Commission for Minorities Chairperson, Mr Tarlochan Singh, said he had requested the Central and state government to initiate action for the safe and dignified return of the Kashmiri Pandits living in camps to security zones in some urban and rural areas of the valley.

He said a committee should be constituted to look after the properties of the migrants and ensure that earnings from such properties were handed over to the owners.

He also stressed the need for proper civic amenities in the relief camps and the restoration of immoveable properties of the Kashmiri Pandits left in the valley to the owners.

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