Bill for rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits moved in RS

The private member’s Bill seeks protection of their property, restoration of cultural heritage, ensuring their safety

April 01, 2022 08:27 pm | Updated 08:27 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Congress MP Vivek Tankha speaks in the Rajya Sabha. File

Congress MP Vivek Tankha speaks in the Rajya Sabha. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Seeking to provide for social, political and economic rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits, Rajya Sabha member Vivek K. Tankha on Friday moved a private member’s Bill in the Upper House, which, he said, was the first of its kind in 32 years.

The Kashmiri Pandits (Recourse, Restitution, Rehabilitation and Resettlement) Bill, 2022, also seeks for Kashmiri Pandits protection of their property, restoration of their cultural heritage, ensuring their safety and security, provision of rehabilitation and resettlement package.

According to the Statements of Objects and Reasons of the Bill, it seeks to bridge the gap between the expectations of the Kashmiri Pandits and the offerings of the government by creating an ecosystem of government support along with empowering the community with regards to their rehabilitation and resettlement in the region.

‘Systemic neglect’

“The Bill ventures to offset any social, economic and political disadvantages, which are a result of decades of systemic neglect and injustice. The Bill also seeks to give power in the hands of the Kashmiri Pandits themselves, as their opinion of what is best for them matters the most. It further attempts to bring the perpetrators of violence and genocide to justice,’’ added the Statements of Objects and Reasons of the Bill.

The Bill noted that 32 years ago, what took place in Kashmir on the night of January 19, 1990, lives fresh in the minds of Kashmiri Pandits as a night of barbarism, terror and mass killings. Kashmiri Pandits suffered the horrors of genocide and exodus at the hands of militants, thousands were brutally killed, women were raped, houses and temples burnt and lives disrupted. Over six lakh Kashmiri Pandits still live in exodus and yearn to return to their motherland.

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