Saturday, June 28, 2014 – Muzafarabad—Kashmiri leaders are expressing grave concerns at Prime Minister Narendra Modi Government’s reported plan to establish Israeli-style settlements for Hindu Pandits in occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
According to a report in Hindustan Times from Srinagar on June 23, 2014, Kashmiri Muslim leaders have expressed their concerns at the reported move of the Centre to grant citizenship to 1947 West Pakistan refugees and its proposal to settle migrant “Kashmiri Pandits” in enclaves in Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) has already recorded its dissatisfaction over the move.
JKLF leader Yasin Malik was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying that “The enemies of J&K are again out to destroy our Muslim identity. The RSS and the BJP are planning to declare lakhs of outsider refugees as citizens here to change the demography of the state. People of Kashmir will not remain silent spectators to these nefarious designs.” Yasin Malik, was later arrested anddetained in Srinagar along with his associates while attempting to launch a ‘Quit Kashmir’ movement with a march towards Lal Chowk.
Kashmiris fear that in the name of re-settlement the Indian Government would make an Israeli-style move to turn Muslim population into a minority.
Meanwhile Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani said the plan to create special enclaves for returning Kashmiri Pandit migrants was dangerous.
“No Kashmiri Muslim is opposed to the return of the Pandits. But by creating separate cities for them the government is working on a dangerous plan to harm our centuries-old brotherhood, to divide our society and to give our freedom struggle a communal colour,” he said.
Kashmiri leaders have reported that Chief Minister of Indian held Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah had been called to New Delhi recently and asked to “identify 16,800 kanals (approx 2,082 acres) of land in Kashmir to establish three separate cities for Kashmiri Pandits.”
“It’s a grave issue… We will try to create a national consensus against these policies of the Indian government and will start consultation with (separatist) groups and religious organizations,” he said. As early as in 2012 Syed Ali Shah Geelani had threatened to launch a campaign against the creation of a separate settlement for the Kashmiri Pandit community in the Valley.
He warned that such settlements can create an Israel-Palestine type situation in Kashmir and permanently divide the majority and minority communities in the state. —PPA