Jammu, March 22 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said Tuesday the government was working on a multifaceted programme for the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley, but for that, the migrants’ sense of security had to be restored.
“Creation of economic opportunities for Kashmiri Pandit youth and reservation in government jobs for them are being focused on as meaningful incentives to encourage their return to the Valley in a conducive and peaceful atmosphere,” Abdullah said in Jammu while interacting with a delegation of students from Chicago University.
“The upliftment of those Kashmiri Pandits who have not left the Valley during the disturbance is also equally important as they are bereft of the benefits available to the migrant Kashmiri Pandits under the Prime Minister’s Relief and Restoration Plan,” he said.
The students from the University of Chicago are here working on a research project on Kashmiri Pandits.
The chief minister said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently inaugurated the satellite-township of two-room tenements at Jagti, Nagrota for Kashmiri Pandit migrants living in camps in Jammu.
Abdullah said that about 2,500 Kashmiri Pandit youths have been provided jobs in the Valley and jobs for an equal number were in the pipeline.
“This is part of the initiative taken to encourage the younger generation to return to the Valley and get involved in the economic and other activities,” he said, adding that transit accommodation and other required facilities have also been put in place for them.
He also enumerated other measures for the creation of a conducive atmosphere for their return. He, however, said the restoration of sense of security was imperative to help smooth and large scale return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley.
“There is tremendous improvement in the situation since their migration from the Valley. However, the complete restoration of peace and total elimination of fear psychosis has to be worked out,” he said, adding the “government was doing whatever possible with the assistance of union government to make effective dent in this regard”.
“About 300,000 Kashmiri Pandits visited the shrine of Kheer Bhawani in the Valley last year in a conducive atmosphere. Hopefully, this trend will further improve — giving a boost to the confidence of Kashmiri Pandits,” he said.
Kashmiri Pandits, who had migrated from the Valley in 1990s under fear of persecution by Islamic militants, have been living in Jammu and other parts outside the Valley since then. Over 350,000 of them had migrated from the Valley when militancy erupted in the region in 1990s.