For Prime Minister Narendra Modi rehabilitation of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) was not just an empty poll promise made in the heat of elections. Less than a week into office, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), under the guidance of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), has initiated an ambitious project to rehabilitate people who have become “refugees” in their own country.
The project, which is still on the drawing board, will look at the rehabilitation of not just the Kashmiri Pandits but also refugees from Pakistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) who came to India post-partition.
Identifying the IDPs ” While they are citizens of India and vote for the general elections because they are not state subjects they are unable to vote in state elections in Jammu and Kashmir. The IDPs also include those who had to leave their home and there after each war between India and Pakistan and have still not been rehabilitated,” highly-placed sources in MHA said.
The project includes identifying the IDPs, understanding their problems and working in tandem with the state government for their rehabilitation. “This will be the first- ofits- kind project that is neither religion nor community centric. It follows PM Modi’s poll mantra of sabka saath , sabka vikas . So, Kashmiri Pandits are an important and integral part of this project, but this project is not aimed solely at them,” a Union minister not wanting to be named said.
Sources said the aim is not just to announce a fancy financial package, rather to ensure rehabilitation of the IDPs – from safe housing to congenial living conditions to jobs. There has to be peace of mind and genuine meeting of the hearts when people return home.
” The aim is not to create separate colonies for Kashmiri Pandits in or near Srinagar. The aim is to ensure full rehabilitation with jobs, medical care, education and creating a conducive environment for their return. The Centre will take the state along in this ambitious project,” they added.
The government will begin the process of identifying IDPs, who want to return, the properties they owned, the status of those properties today and whether it is possible to rehabilitate them in their own environment with adequate security. ” We do not want Kashmiri Pandits to live in ghettos in and around Srinagar. We want to settle them to ensure they can begin their lives afresh and have to ensure their children have a bright future. This will be a litmus test of Kashmiriyat,” said a senior officer.
The government is also planning to rename Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) as Pakistan occupied Jammu & Kashmir(PoJK).
In October 1947 while Pakistan Army backed raiders marched towards Srinagar, they also occupied parts of Indian territory south of Pir Panjal ahead of Jammu.
Poonch & Rajauri were won back but some parts of Indian territory south of Pir Panjal are still in Pakistan Army’s illegal control.
After shares of Jammu and Kashmir Bank nosedived over 20 per cent following a report that it had undeclared non- performing assets ( NPAs) worth Rs.2,500 crore, separatist leader Yasin Malik on Saturday said the bank has a ” biased” approach. Malik said: ” The J& K bank gives crores of rupees of loans to people from other states and hushes up the matter while denying small loans to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
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