Kashmiri Pandits can't be compelled to return: Omar Abdullah

Jammu, Jan 5 : Kashmiri Pandits who left their homes and migrated to other parts of the country after militancy hit the state in the 1990s would themselves have to take a call on their return, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said Sunday.

Abdullah was addressing a convention of Kashmiri Pandits at Patta-Bohri near Jammu.

The chief minister reiterated his resolve to work earnestly to regenerate a sense of security among the Kashmiri Pandits and create an environment for their dignified and honourable return to their native land.

Kashmir without Kashmiri Pandits was incomplete beyond any doubt, he said.

"They have to take a call in this regard by themselves. I will do whatever is possible to upgrade the status of basic amenities provided to Kashmiri Pandits in various migrant camps in Jammu," he said.

Abdullah said he will intensify efforts to seek from the Centre better socio-economic packages of rehabilitation for the safe and secure return of the migrant Pandits.

The Kashmiri Pandits left their native land as the sense of security was lost in the valley during militancy.

"We have to work to make them regain this sense and create safe and secure atmosphere for them to return willingly," he said.

Abdullah said the Pandits have undergone a difficult and challenging phase as also severe mental trauma during the 25 years of migration. This not only affected their economy, but also took a toll on other aspects of their lives.

The chief minister said a step has been taken for the return of migrant Pandits, by earmarking government employment for their educated youth.

"About 1,500 boys and girls of this community have taken up jobs and are residing safely and peacefully with their Muslim brethren in the Valley," he said.

But it will be "significant" when the community as a whole decides to return willingly and be part of the society as they were before migration, Abdullah said.

--IANS (Posted on 05-01-2014)

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