The land for rehabilitation of displaced Kashmiri Hindus, known as Pandits, who ran away from the Kashmir Valley in the early 1990’s due to militancy, can be identified in one or two months, federal Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Saturday.
“We are committed to the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Hindus who have migrated from the valley. The state government can start the process of identifying the land for their rehabilitation after the floods. They can identify land in one month or two months after dealing with floods,” he said here.
Singh was on a day-long tour to Jammu and Kashmir during which he made an aerial survey of flood affected areas of the state. The home minister said the federal government has already earmarked Rs5 billion (in general budget) for rehabilitation of Kashmiri Hindus in the valley.
Asked whether it was proper to write a letter to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah asking him to identify land in the midst of floods, the home minister said there was nothing wrong in sending the letter as the process was initiated even before the state was hit by floods.
“The letter has gone in the normal course. The letter only means the process has begun,” he said.
The Home Minister yesterday asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to identify “suitable land” for the rehabilitation of some 300,000 Kashmiri Hindus who migrated from the Kashmir Valley in the early 1990’s due to militancy.
The Narendra Modi government has committed itself to the return of some 62,000 such families with “full dignity” to their homes in the Valley and has earmarked Rs5 billion for this in the 2014-15 federal budget.
In his letter to Omar, the home minister has suggested that the land may be identified near the native place from where they migrated and also advised that this should be done in such a manner there was adequate security in and around the area.
At present, there are about 62,000 registered Kashmiri families who migrated from the Kashmir Valley to either Jammu, Delhi or to other parts of the country after the onset of militancy in the border state.
Singh’s missive came ahead of the state assembly elections likely to be held in November-December this year for which BJP has declared its intention to seek a majority in the 87-member legislature, a target not easy to achieve.
Asked about rehabilitation of refugees who have migrated from Pakistan since 1947, the home minister said the government will come up with plans for them very soon.
Rajnath said country may resort to “alternative steps” if negotiations with neighbours on incursions do not yield fruitful results.
Singh was asked about incursions by Chinese army in Leh area to which he replied that incursions were happening earlier also.
“Our soldiers are guarding our borders and there will be no let up in the vigil. The government wants to resolve all issues with its neighbours through dialogue but alternative steps can be taken if they don’t believe in negotiations,” Singh said without specifying the neighbouring country.
Jammu and Kashmir has seen incursions from Pakistan as well as China.
When asked whether the federal government and the state are on confrontational path following a resolution passed by Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly seeking resumption of dialogue with Pakistan, the home minister said there is no confrontation and the centre and state have cordial relations.
Recently, Chinese troops entered Charding Nilu Nullah Junction in Demchok sector on their vehicles claiming it to be Chinese territory, official sources had said.
The PLA soldiers who wanted to have a round of the area were stopped by the Indian army and personnel of Indo-Tibetan Border Police, a force which guards the India-China border.
After a 30-minute long stand-off followed by a banner drill where armies of both the countries warned each other against moving a step forward, the PLA personnel returned to their side, the sources said.