Friday, 20 September 2013

Rehabilitation, employment eludes Kashmiri Pandits living in valley
Revenue department sits over rehabilitation file for years
            SRINAGAR, Sep 8: The state cabinet has a habit of taking decisions and then forgetting about the implementation part of these decisions. Same has happened to the decision taken about the employment package for the Kashmiri Pandits who have stayed back and not migrated to the different parts of India. During the cabinet meeting in the far flung Gurez area of Bandipora district last year the state cabinet chaired by chief minister, Omar Abdullah took a decision about giving employment to the Kashmiri Pandit youth who stayed back in Kashmir valley. More than one year has passed since then but the employment package is yet to get a practical shape. The package was sanctioned on the lines of Prime Minister’s package for migrant Kashmiri Pandits.
“The problem of unemployment has assumed daunting proportions in the state and same holds true with the youth of our community. In order to inculcate confidence the state cabinet last year decided to give jobs to youth of our community but as on date there has been no forward movement in this regard. The employment package seems to have fallen flat without taking off,” said a group of Kashmiri Pandits while sharing their views with Early Times.
The Kashmiri Pandits said it was decided to sanction the package on the pattern of the package sanctioned for the displaced Kashmiri Pandit youth. They said the Kashmiri Pandits who stayed put in the Kashmir valley have been neglected by state government. They added that both state government and central government should take immediate steps for providing relief to Pandits of Kashmir. “Rehabilitation is the biggest problem faced by the Kashmiri Pandits here. There are 55 families of Kashmiri Pandits who are up against many odds since the past 23 years with no relief in sight. The Kashmiri Pandits were internally displaced and they had to leave their ancestral places and settle down at the district headquarters. It was not a big deal to provide package to 50 odd families but the state government turned a deaf ear to the genuine problems,” said the Kashmiri Pandits.
The Kashmiri Pandits said the state government had in principle agreed to provide rehabilitation to the Kashmiri Pandits. The package would have been sanctioned after receiving the feedback from police about the families claiming for the package. It took years for the various levels of police hierarchy to get the antecedents of the Kashmiri Pandits and the observations were forwarded to Revenue department for further action.
“The files are pending for the last four years in the Revenue department and as such the rehabilitation package could not be sanctioned so far. The state government is totally apathetic to our issues and no follow up of the progress in this case has been taken up so far. We are forced to pay heavy rent for minimal accommodation and as such our problems have been compounded,” said the Kashmiri Pandits.
The Kashmiri Pandits said that although the state government constructed 18 residential quarters for them at Mattan in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district but these were handed over to the migrant Kashmiri Pandit youth appointed under the Prime Minister’s package. They said that discrimination against the Kashmiri Pandits staying back should be stopped so that they live a dignified life. Hindu Welfare Society Kashmir (HWSK) Publicity Secretary, Chuni Lal Bhat while expressing his views said the Kashmiri Pandits have been pushed to the wall with nobody caring for their problems. Chuni said that if the ‘apathy’ from state government continues then they may be forced to look for other options. “As on date there is no relief for us and we have been left at the mercy of the God. If this continues then we too might think of migrating from this place and the government would be responsible for this. There are incentives for the political migrants but as far as Kashmiri Pandits are concerned there is no such provision,” said Chuni.

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