Adopt Kashmiri Pandits' rehab resolution: Rajnath
Home Minister Rajnath Singh Monday asked parliament to adopt a resolution for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits to their homeland.
"Whenever we make a commitment, we do so after giving full thought and strong conviction. Whether Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Parsi, no one will be a refugee in his own land," he said, responding to a calling attention motion on the issue.
The minister said a new package for Kashmiri Pandits' return and rehabilitation was being worked out and the central government has earmarked Rs.500 crore in this year's budget for this purpose.
"In view of the past experience, it has been felt that the new package for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants should be carefully finalised in consultation with the state government and the representatives of the migrants. Our government has already started the process of drawing the contours of the scheme," he said.
He dismissed any link between participation of Kashmiri Pandits in the controversial Kausar Nag Yatra and their rehabilitation.
"The review of the rehabilitation plans and packages announced for the return of Kashmiri migrants is a continuous process," he said, adding parliament should pass a unanimous resolution that it was committed to the return of the Kashmiri migrants.
The calling attention motion was moved by K. Kavitha of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti. Anurag Thakur and Sanjay Jaiswal, both of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and B. Mahtab of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) also supported it.
Making a rare intervention, veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani sought implementation of the recommendations of an earlier standing committee during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime on the issue of Kashmiri Pandits.
"I think the report should be brought here and how the report can be followed up. The home minister should discuss this," he said.
Earlier, Kavitha made an emotional appeal for rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits.
Thakur said: "We cannot know of the pain of the Kashmiri Pandits till we meet them. They live in tents in places like Delhi while having palatial houses in their native place."
He questioned as to why the Kausar Nag Yatra was cancelled despite the district administration giving an initial clearance.
(Posted on 11-08-2014)