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Govt Made Kashmiri Pandits Scapegoat While Rewriting J&K Land Laws: Community Leader

Image for Representation: Security forces patrolling in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.

Image for Representation: Security forces patrolling in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.

Mahaldar alleged that the government was more interested in rotating non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits into the government jobs, station them in government quarters and send them back to Jammu after retirement.

Mufti Islah

Satish Mahalder, a Kashmiri Pandit and chief of the organisation the Reconciliations, Return and Rehabilitation of Migrants, criticised the Centre's proposal of transferring 3,000 acres of land to lure investors, while not doing so for the members of his community.

"The goverment has made Kashmiri Pandits a scapegoat while rewriting land laws in Jammu and Kashmir. It cares very little for them," said Mahalder.

Mahaldar has been working with community members and political leaders for years to facilitate the return of exiled Kashmiri Hindus. "While the government is allocating 3,000 acres of land to woo non-local investors, it is not proposing even 300 towards the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandit refugees, he added.

He said the new land laws have brought uncertainty and even the Jammu and Kashmir administration finds it hard to explain what benefits it brings.

"We believe the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits has a greater priority and must be addressed first before the new land laws come into effect," he added.

Coming down heavily on Centre and local administration, he said it was ironical that government is not thinking about giving land to its own beleaguered citizens, the Kashmiri migrants. "It is the duty of the Central and the state governments to rehabilitate them back in their land of origin."

"Had the governments acted strongly since the advent of terrorism in the Valley in late 1980s, the Kashmiri Pandits would not have been forced to become refugees in their own country, he said.

"The Prime Minister and Home Minister brought the CAA law to rehabilitate refugees of the neighbouring countries, but why do you discriminate and why don’t you rehabilitate your own in-country refugees?" he asked.

He urged the government to immediately stop the sale and purchase of land within Kashmir till the Kashmiri Pandits are rehabilitated in the Valley. "The government has not done much so far. The new LG appears indifferent to the community needs," he said.

Mahaldar alleged that the government was more interested in rotating non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits into the government jobs, station them in government quarters and send them back to Jammu after retirement. He said he is in touch with People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) and other national political parties to engage on this issue.


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