Ready to return to Valley, want clusters, say Kashmiri Pandits

New Delhi: A delegation of Kashmiri Pandits met BJP General Secretary B.L. Santhosh here on Wednesday and said they were ready to return to the Kashmir Valley from where they fled in 1990.

The delegation led by Satish Mahaldar, however, demanded creation of clusters for the community in Anantnag, Srinagar, Badgam, Baramulla, Sopore and Ganderbal where they could live.

The delegation said 419 Kashmiri Pandit families had shown willingness to return to the troubled Valley.

Besides physical rehabilitation, the delegation also sought economic rehabilitation, job reservation, renovation of all temples in the Valley and relaxation of norms, especially in securing state subject certificates for their children.

Santhosh said his party was committed to the return of the displaced Kashmiri Pandit community to their home state and their rehabilitation.

"Security and welfare of the minority community of Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir is of utmost importance and the government will take steps accordingly," he said.

Santhosh assured the delegation that all possible help would be extended for their return. Thousands of Pandits fled the Kashmir Valley where they had lived for centuries in the wake of the start of a separatist campaign in 1989-90.

A couple of weeks ago, the delegation met Minister of State for Home Affairs Kishan Reddy and has held dialogue with political leadership and religious heads in Kashmir.

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