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Quota for Kashmiri Pandits in professional colleges

By Our Staff Reporter

(From left) The Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Rehman Khan; the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh; the Cooperation Minister, R.V. Deshpande; and Ananth Kumar, MP, at the inauguration of Global Conference on `Future of Kashmiri Pandits' in Bangalore o n Sunday. — Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

BANGALORE, DEC. 19. One seat each in all technical and professional colleges in the State will be reserved for Kashmiri migrant students, the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, announced here on Sunday.

In non-technical programmes such as B.A./B.Com./B.Sc./BCA/Computer Science, up to five per cent of seats over and above the approved intake in colleges will be given to wards of Kashmiri migrants, Mr. Singh said.

He was speaking at the Global Meet on "Future of Kashmiri Pandits" organised by the All India Kashmiri Samaj, jointly with the Kashmiri Hindu Samithi, Karnataka.

The seats in colleges offered to Kashmiris that remain vacant will be filled by other candidates, he added. Mr. Singh said that the Government would give Rs. 25 lakhs towards the construction of Kashmir Bhavan in the city.

"It is unfortunate that the original inhabitants of Jammu and Kashmir, the Kashmiri Pandits, are tragic victims of systematic oppression and are undergoing forced exile for the last 15 years. It is the responsibility of the Union Government and society, on humanitarian grounds, to help them to return to their homes," he said.

`Preserve culture'

Rehman Khan, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, said that Islam never preached hatred and violence and the militants who are the cause for misery of Kashmiris do not have a religion. "They are not fighting for a religious cause," he said.

Kashmiri Pandits should strive to preserve, protect and fight for their culture, he said.

Raman Mattoo, Jammu and Kashmir Industries Minister, R.V. Deshpande, Minister for Co-operation, Ananth Kumar, former Union Minister, J. Alexander, former Minister and R.K. Mattoo, President of Kashmiri Hindu Samithi Karnataka were present.

`Peace talks futile'

Kashmiri Pandits do not think that a lasting solution will come out of the ongoing peace talks between India and Pakistan, M.K. Kaw, president of the All India Kashmiri Samaj, said.

Mr. Kaw said that even though India had made numerous overtures to Pakistan, there was no warmth from the other side.

"It is extremely doubtful that any consensus will emerge on the Kashmir issue. They will meet and talk and meet again and talk again but a solution will elude them," he said.

U.S. interference

Mr. Kaw said that there is always a danger of the United States interfering in the peace talks between India and Pakistan and that it will try to favour Pakistan on the Kashmir dispute.

"India poses a danger to the U.S. dominance, while the neighbouring country has always been ready to oblige the U.S. Therefore, the superpower may approve of a solution that will weaken India," he added.

Mr. Kaw urged that Bangalore being the IT capital, the Government should suggest to some of the IT companies here to open offices in Jammu to provide jobs to the numerous unemployed Kashmiri Pandit youth.

He said that though the majority community in Kashmir have indicated that the Kashmiri Pandits could come back to their motherland, there was no action to welcome them.

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