Pandits in Kashmir are feeling ‘more secure’, and over 3,800 young people from the community have returned home to take up jobs provided as part of the Prime Minister’s rehabilitation package, the government informed Parliament on Wednesday. In a written response to a question from the Rajya Sabha, Nityanand Rai, Minister of State for Home Affairs, stated these points.
A number of questions were asked of him regarding Kashmiri Pandits, including whether the government is aware that many of them have become ‘insecure’ in recent years, the number of Kashmiri Pandit and Hindu families currently living in the Kashmir valley, and their demands from the government. According to the report from the Relief Office set up by the government of Jammu and Kashmir in 1990, 44,167 Kashmiri migrant families have been registered, who have had to leave the valley since 1990 due to security concerns.
The minister noted that 39,782 Hindu migrants are registered. As evidenced by the fact that 3,841 Kashmiri migrants youth have moved back to Kashmir and have taken up jobs in various districts of Kashmir as part of the Prime Minister’s rehabilitation package, he said, Kashmiri Pandits now feel more secure. In April, another 1,997 candidates were chosen for jobs under the same package, and they will soon move to Kashmir.
It is also important to mention that a total of 26,684 Kashmiri migrants showed interest in returning home by applying for the 1,997 positions advertised by Jammu and Kashmir’s recruitment board in December. ‘In addition, the government has prepared a comprehensive policy to provide residential accommodation to Kashmiri migrants who have moved back to Kashmir,’ Rai said. 6,000 residential units are being built at an ‘accelerated pace’, and 1,000 residential units are already occupied by these employees.
The minister also explained how many of these families are based in the valley. Kashmir has approximately 900 such families, including Kashmiri Pandit and Dogra Hindu families. ‘The government gave them the same package of benefits as Kashmiri migrants who never left Kashmir. Besides, they are getting all the benefits of government schemes along with others in Kashmir’, he added.
In order to safeguard life and property, the government has taken ‘necessary steps’, which include proactive operations, identification and arrest of overground workers or supporters of terrorism, raids against members of banned organizations, increased night patrolling at nakas, and coordination between intelligence agencies.