CM tells Home minister the task will be accomplished soon; mention of ‘composite’ townships triggers talk of ‘Panun Kashmir’
NEW DELHI: Chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed assured New Delhi on Tuesday that his government will acquire land for “composite townships” for migrant Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley, according to a Press Information Bureau statement.
Mufti gave this assurance to Union home minister Rajnath Singh during a meeting in New Delhi. The statement did not clarify what a “composite township” means.
The state information department sent a detailed press release about Mufti’s meeting with Singh and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but did not mention the bit about land acquisition for these townships.
Rather, it said, “Mufti Sayeed informed the Union home minister that the state government will expedite the return of Kashmir Pandit community to the Valley with dignity and honour as the cultural milieu without them remains incomplete.”
Senior PDP ministers concerned did not respond to Kashmir Reader calls. A mid-level PDP leader, who requested anonymity, first said that he was not aware about the development.
Later, he called Kashmir Reader and said that he could not lay his hand on any significant information regarding these townships or what the “composite” means.
Deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader Dr Nirmal Singh said he “had no idea about this development or the composite townships”.
Rajnath had asked the previous Omar Abdullah government, and later to governor NN Vohra, to identify land for the migrants. The BJP has mentioned return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits as one of its main goals in its election manifesto, which was later incorporated in the Agenda of Alliance of the BJP-PDP coalition. During the budget for 2015-16, Rs 580 crore has been earmarked by the Centre for rehabilitation of migrants.
According to government figures, there are 62,000 registered Kashmiri migrant families across India.
The news about land acquisition for townships triggered speculations on social networking sites, with many assuming the townships are the ghetto-like, exclusive townships demanded by some Pandit organizations.