With the Centre working on a rehabilitation package for Kashmiri Pandits, hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani said that Muslims were not against their return to the valley, however, he strongly opposed any plan to create ‘safe zones’ for them.
“None of the Kashmiri Muslim is opposing the return of Kashmiri Pandits but by creating separate cities for them, government is actually working… to harm our centuries-old brotherhood, to divide our society and to give our freedom struggle a communal colour,” Geelani said, adding, “We will oppose it at every level and in every possible way.”
The Hurriyat leader claimed that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah “was recently called to New Delhi and he was told to identify the 16,800 Kanals (840 hectares) of land in Kashmir for establishing the three separate cities for Kashmiri Pandits.”
Geelani has been talking a strong stand on the issue for some time now. “Kashmiri pandits are part and parcel of Kashmiri society and are our brethren. We will welcome their return to their homeland,” he had said on June 11.
“It is a deep-rooted conspiracy to create separate zones for the community. The only purpose behind this is to divide our society,” he said.
Omar Abdullah had met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh last Thursday to discussed various issues pertaining to the state, especially return of Pandits to the valley.
The Omar government had proposed increasing the amount for construction or repairs of their houses to Rs. 20 lakh from existing Rs. 7.5 lakh. This proposal was sent to the previous UPA government but no decision was taken.
Kashmiri Pandits had left the Valley in 1990 with the onset of militancy and the number such migrants in Jammu, Delhi and other parts of the country are estimated somewhere between six and seven lakhs.