If things go as planned for the J&K Government and the Centre then at least three colonies of Kashmiri Pandits will come up in as many areas in Kashmir.
According to reports, one such land for the Kashmiri Pandits has been finalised in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
The other two have been scouted in central and south Kashmir but are yet to be finalised.
The Baramulla location is at Kanispora Johema, close to the railway station, and is spread over an area of 25 acres. J&K officials said that the state government is in talks with the owners of the land. The Centre has taken the issue of rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley as a major agenda.
Since 2014 the Centre has been asking the J&K government to scout and identify suitable land in areas from where the Pandits had originally migrated.
Kashmiri Pandits at a protest. PTI
The coming to power of BJP-PDP combine in J&K boosted the process of building homes for the Kashmiri Pandits.
In November 2015, the Centre approved a package worth Rs.2,000 crore towards the rehabilitation scheme which includes the additional jobs and around 6,000 transit homes in the Valley for Pandits who are employees of the state government. According to an estimate, India has around 62,000 registered Kashmiri Pandit families who fled the Valley at the height of terrorism in 1990s. Of them some 20,000 live in Delhi-NCR.
Houses of Kashmiri Pandits who fled the Valley now lie in ruins. Hindustan Times
Most Pandits who fled were high on the social and economic ladder of Kashmir. Many had well-performing business establishments, which they had to leave behind out of fear of being killed by terrorists
The Pandits, too, have been demanding that the government work towards their rehabilitation in the Valley.
A protest was held on January 19 in New Delhi, which Pandits marked as the 27th anniversary of Kashmiri Pandit Exodus Day
A boy walks past a dilapidated house of a Kashmiri Pandit family which fled the Valley at the height of terrorism.
The protestors wanted the government to be serious about their demand but at the same time stressed that townships will not be a solution to the problems of the Kashmiri Pandits. Meanwhile, separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani urged the Kashmiri Pandits to oppose the J&K government’s decision because it would “cut off them from the rest of the society” in Kashmir.