SRINAGAR: A group of prominent religious organisations in Jammu and Kashmir today said Kashmiri Pandits, who migrated from the Valley in 1990, have a right to return and are welcome, but cautioned the Centre against any move to create separate settlements for the community.
“Pandits are an important part of the Kashmiri society.
“Those Pandits, who were pressurised to leave the Valley in 1990 under a sinister conspiracy, have every right to settle at their ancestral places or in any area along with their Muslim compatriots and they will be welcomed to live here as the common citizens,” president of Majlis Itihad-e-Millat, Jammu and Kashmir Mufti Bashir-ud-in said at a press conference here.
The Majlis is a joint representative forum of about a dozen religious organisations including Jamat-e-Islami, Jamiat-e-Ahli Hadees and Anjuman-e-Shari Shian.
Mufti, who is also Jammu and Kashmir’s Grand Mufti (head cleric), said any plan by the Central government to create separate settlements in Kashmir for the Pandit community would have “dangerous consequences”.
“The people of Kashmir, including a majority of Pandits, have serious apprehensions about the plan and will never accept it,” he said.
BJP Jammu, Kashmir state demands
Meanwhile ahead of Modi’s maiden visit to Jammu and Kashmir, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) here has demanded that Delhi grant tourist city status to Jammu.
NJP pointed out that Jammu is the only city in North India where more than 10 million pilgrims including tourists, come every year.
“Grant tourist city status to Jammu city and develop required infrastructure considering the fact that it is the only city in North India where more than 10 million pilgrims including tourists, come every year,” State unit of BJP demanded from Central government in a handout released here today.
The other demands raised by the BJP include sanctioning of a Macro-Agro project in Jammu city, setting up of a Railway Coach factory to generate ample employment opportunities and dissuade the youth from migrating outside the state, exploitation of saffron to the advantage of people and state and areas in Kashmir and parts of Jammu province, especially Kishtwar and areas where saffron production could be increased and special package for the refugees of all varieties and grant of citizenship rights to refugees from West Pakistan.
BJP also demanded border areas of RS Pura and the adjoining areas in Jammu province, which are famous for producing best quality of rice, should be declared Export zone status for it.
The party also called for setting up of Rail and Air link between Jammu and Poonch with rail link between Jammu and Akhnoor on priority basis as it involves less expenditure, it said adding that railway track be setup from Manwa to Billawar to Basohli in Jammu to Pathankot (Punjab).
They called for construction of roads in the areas where the road connectivity is very poor.
The party also called for raising the status of Jammu Airport to the status of international airport considering the fact that lakhs of tourists from the country and outside visit the city of temples and from where they start their journey to holy places like Mata Vaishno Devi and shrine of Amarnath.
It also demanded creation of AIIMS-type facilities in the Jammu Medical College. It is the only major hospital that is dependent upon by the entire population of Jammu province. - Compiled and edited from DNA India reports