“219 Kashmiri Pandits killed by militants since 1989”

March 23, 2010 10:55 pm | Updated 10:55 pm IST - SRINAGAR:

The Jammu and Kashmir government on Tuesday said 219 Kashmiri Pandits were killed by militants since 1989 while 24,202 families were among the total 38,119 families which migrated out of the Valley due to turmoil.

Replying to a question from People's Democratic Party member Syed Basharat Bukhari, Revenue Minister Raman Bhalla told the Assembly in Jammu that “219 Pandits were killed in Kashmir from 1989 to 2004. From 2004, no killing of any person from the community [Kashmiri Pandits] took place till now,” Mr. Bhalla said.

A total number of 38,119 families comprising 1,42,042 Kashmiri migrants were registered with the Revenue and Relief Ministry till now.

The Minister said the government had also paid an ex gratia of Rs.1 lakh for each death. “Besides, an amount of Rs. 39,64,91,838 has been paid as compensation to the Pandits on account of damage to their properties since the eruption of militancy,” he said.

An amount of Rs.71.95 crore was spent in providing relief and other facilities to the Kashmiri migrants living in Jammu and other parts in 2007-08, Rs.70.33 crore in 2008-09 and Rs.68.59 crore from 2009 up to January, 2010.

“Situation not conducive”

Mr. Bhalla said the government was committed to facilitating their return to Kashmir but regretted that no action could be taken on various plans and recommendations as the situation was not conducive for their return.

“With the improvement in the situation in the Valley, the government decided to construct 200 flats at an estimated cost of Rs.22.90 crore at Sheikhpora Budgam in 2004. And 120 flats have so far been completed of which possession of 60 flats was taken over by the department and inspection of other 60 flats is going on. The construction of remaining 80 flats shall be completed during 2010. Besides, 18 flats have also been constructed through the Jammu and Kashmir Housing Board at Mattan Anantnag,” he told the House.

A committee headed by M.L. Koul, the then Finance Commissioner, Planning and Development Department, was formed to prepare an action plan for the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants to the Valley. In its report submitted to the government in 1997-98, the committee recommended a package of Rs.2,799.11 crore for the return of migrants.

Mr. Bhalla said a special package of Rs. 1,618.40 crore was sanctioned by the Government of India for the return and rehabilitation of the migrants. “Under this scheme, 3,000 supernumerary posts have been created, exclusively for the Kashmiri migrants, willing to return to the Valley. These posts have already been referred to the recruiting agencies and the process for the selection of these posts is on,” he said. But, despite all these rehabilitation packages, not a single Kashmiri migrant has returned to the Valley, the Minister rued.

He said that 808 Pandit families consisting of 3,445 people were still living in the Valley. “These families have never migrated,” he said.

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