J-K assembly passes resolution for return of Kashmiri Pandits

Jammu and Kashmir assembly today unanimously passed a resolution for creating a conducive atmosphere for the return of Kashmiri Pandits and other migrants to the Valley, 27 years after they were driven out by marauding Muslim separatists.

Yet, the resolution is about creating a conducive atmosphere and not for their actual resettlement or return of the lands usurped by the separatists.

Soon after the House met in the morning, former chief minister Omar Abdullah said the assembly should pass a resolution for the return of Kashmiri Pandits and other migrants, rising above party politics.

The working president of National Conference (NC) said 27 years ago ''unfortunate'' circumstances in Kashmir had forced the migration of Kashmiri Pandit community, members of Sikh community and some Muslims. ''Today it has been 27 years since they (Kashmiri Pandits, some Sikhs and Muslims) left the Valley and we should rise above politics and pass a resolution in the house for their comeback,'' Omar said.

Soon after the question hour, minister for parliamentary affairs Abdul Rehman Veeri approved the resolution to be brought in the house. Speaker Kavinder Gupta moved the resolution which was passed by voice vote.

Speaking on the issue, J&K education minister Naeem Akhtar said that it is Jammu and Kashmir that wants the pundits back, rather than the Pandits wanting to come back to the Valley, meaning that the conditions there are not conducive for their return.

"We need to rebuild the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and cosmopolitan character of Kashmir," said Akhtar, adding, "Pandits today do not require Kashmir as Kashmir requires them."

Earlier in the day, Bollywood actor Anupam Kher said that no Kashmiri Pandit can ever forget what happened on 19 January 1990.

"Even after 27 years no person has ever picked up any weapon because we believe in peace and the greatness of our country," Anupam Kher said.