As Delhi cements its stand, Mufti in denial mode

Srinagar: For the second consecutive day on Friday, People’s Democratic Party and its partner in the government, BJP, voiced diametrically opposite views about exclusive Pandit settlements in the Valley.
While chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed reiterated on Friday that his government had no plans to build separate townships for Pandits, the BJP-led government of India said that no final decision has been taken on such settlements, while asserting that it “cannot be influenced by separatists who work at the diktats of Pakistan”.
“I will not be able to spell out the details of the policy because nothing is finalized yet. The consultation process is going on and the government of Jammu and Kashmir and ministry of Home affairs, we all have to come together and take a call,” minister of state for Home Kiren Rijiju told reporters.
“It has to be in the interest of the state, interest of the people only. So, I cannot spell out till things are finally decided,” he said.
He said that he cannot make a statement just on the basis of the preliminary work and the process will be carried forward in consultation with the state government.
Referring to the shutdown call given by pro-freedom groups, the minister said there will be people who will “whip up” people’s sentiments and “create trouble for the country”.
“My appeal would be that people should work together and not get brainwashed or influenced…we cannot be influenced by people working at the diktat of the outsiders and all. Anybody indigenous of Jammu and Kashmir, we are Indian citizens,
we have to talk to each other. Dialogue and discussion is the process.”
Home minister Rajnath Singh too had hinted that the government will go ahead with its plans about the townships.
However, facing public outrage, Mufti told the Assembly that his government will not make separate clusters for Kashmiri Pandits the way “Israel has done”.
“Kashmiri Pandits also have not desired to live in such townships,” Mufti told the Legislative Council here today.
“During my previous tenure in 2003, we set up camps for them in Sheikhpura, and some places in Anantnag and Kupwara. They said they cannot live separately. We will bring this community back and integrate in Kashmiri milieu,” he said.
“Therefore, it is our mission that if we want to save our composite culture, it will be our utmost endeavour to bring them back to Kashmir. We will have to make conducive atmosphere for it. It will not be possible by hue and cry raised over the issue but to work to strengthen the relations,” the chief minister added. (with PTI inputs)