Kashmiri Pandits on Tuesday demanded that they be included as constituents in the Centre—proposed political dialogue on resolving Kashmir issue.
“Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) must receive equal consideration as full—fledged constituents in the political dialogue that the Centre plans to hold with various Kashmir entities,” a three-member delegation of the community told a visiting European Union delegation here.
They also accused Centre and state governments of neglecting both the non-migrant and migrant groups of the community in the process.
Pandit community leaders like M. L. Bhat of Hindu Welfare Society, Vinod Pandit of All Party Migrant Coordination Committee and Sanjay K. Tickoo of Kashmir Pandit Sangarsh Samiti told the delegation to persuade the Centre to resolve the Kashmir issue through dialogue, a spokesman of Pandits said.
They also demanded setting up of a ‘Truth and Justice Commission’ to examine the events that led to the exodus of Pandits in 1989—90.
The population of the Pandits in the valley has declined from 19,865 in 1996 to 2,865 now, the delegation was told. The package announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for migrant Pandits should be extended to those stayed back in the valley even at the peak of militancy, they said.
The delegation comprised diplomats Lisa Valjenta from Finland, Aslak Brun (Norway), Danny Anan (Denmark) and Andres Sjoberg (Sweden). They had met chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and JKLF Chairman Mohammad Yaseen Malik during the past two days.
The delegation was told that the community members who stayed back in the valley had to migrate because of the “shrinking economic, social and political space for them in Kashmir.”
They also demanded community’s representation guaranteed by law in state cabinet, legislative assembly and Parliament.
A steering committee should be set up on deciding rehabilitation and return of Pandits to the valley and the state government should ensure passage of Kashmiri Hindu Shrines and Religious Places Management and Regulation Bill—2008, the spokesman said.