Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday directed the Ministry to strengthen checks to stop infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir and take measures for the return of Kashmiri migrants to the Valley by taking them into confidence. The J&K government’s proposal to incentivise the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley is being perceived as an attempt by the National Conference to align with the Centre’s plans to facilitate their return.

Last week, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had tweeted: “Look forward to working with the new government as they unveil their plans for the honourable return of the displaced Pandit community.” When contacted, Jammu provincial president of the NC, Devendra Rana, said Pandits were an essential constituent of the cultural ethos of Kashmir and their return to the Valley was vital for strengthening the secular fabric of the State. The People’s Democratic Party said rehabilitation could not be undertaken in isolation and an economic package would work only if the State paid attention to the social and political aspects as well. “It has to be linked to the issue of addressing the alienation of the masses with the Indian state,” PDP national spokesperson Sameer Kaul said.

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