Can’t Leave Pigeons Before Cats, Mehbooba On Pandit Settlements



CM Mehbooba Mufti
CM Mehbooba Mufti

Insisting that she has resolved to get the migrant Kashmiri Pandits, Muslims and Sikhs back home with full dignity and honour, Chief Minister Ms Mehbooba Mufti said she will not throw them like ‘pigeons before the cat’.

Ms Mufti was defending the government decision of setting up “transit colonies” where they will stay for some time and later decide where they wish to live. “These are not going to be any Israel type settlements,” Ms Mufti said. “These will be composite housing colonies where half will be Kashmiri Pandits and half Muslims and other faiths.”

Chief Minister was lavish in praising the Pandit for their capabilities and IQ. “We will tell them to serve their home in hospitals and other places,” Ms Mufti said. “These transit accommodations would not be exclusive ones.”

Justifying her stand of getting them first to the transit accommodations, Ms Mufti asked political workers if they are willing to send their key workers back to their village homes. “If the political workers who have migrated from villages to the city and are living in secured are not ready to go back to their native places, how can we expect Pandits to return and go back to their native place?,” Ms Mufti asked. “We cannot leave pigeons before the cat.”

Once the situation improves, she said, they will decide on their own to go back to their native places.

Getting migrants Pandit back home is key focus of the BJP led central government. Though the last government had announced a major return and rehabilitation package, it has not been able to attract many migrants back home. Only two families have got Rs 12.50 lakh to avail to scheme and return home, the government informed in a separate response.

On the issue of setting up of Sainik colony for the retired soldiers, Ms Mufti said that no land has been identified so far. She said that the law does not permit housing non-state subject soldiers in the colony proposed by the Sainik Board.

Responding to Omar Abdullah’s fiery speech yesterday, Ms Mufti said that Sainik Board dates back to 1965 and then chief minister, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah inaugurated the first Sainik Colony in Jammu in 1975. She criticised Omar Abdullah for playing the issue up despite knowing that the law does not permit creation of any housing settlement for non-state subjects. She said Omar was part of three meetings of Sainik Board in which the issue of colony cropped up.

“But, up to this moment, no land, whatsoever, has been identified for this purpose,” Ms Mufti said. “This issue is being exploited by some people for their own vested interests.” She said no land is available either in Srinagar or in Budgam.

Kashmir is restive over the twin housing settlements with people taking it as a way out for neutralizing the demography and improving the fault lines of division. Last week, Kashmir observed a day long strike against the twin ideas.

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