No Separate Colonies For Kashmiri Pandits, Hints Mehbooba Mufti


Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday hinted that her government might not create separate colonies or clusters for Kashmiri Pandits as proposed earlier.

Speaking in the state Legislative Assembly, Mehbooba said, “Kashmiri Pandits ko baizzat laayenge, yahan saath milkar rahenge (We will bring back Kashmiri Pandits with respect, we will live together here).”

She also stated that colonies to be built for retired military personnel or ex-servicemen will only be for state subjects and not for retirees from outside the state.

“Sainik colonies are not for outsiders but for state subjects only, this proposal has been in the process from the last government’s tenure,” the chief minister informed the Assembly.

“In our government tenure, the Governor ordered to identify land for Sainik colonies but so far no land has been identified,” she added.

The remarks come just days after separatist leaders in Kashmir came together to oppose the setting up of “exclusive colonies” for Pandits (or Hindus) and retired military personnel.

It is for the first time since the 2008 Amarnath land agitation that the Kashmiri separatists, who are ideologically and politically divided, have joined hands.

As per reports, separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik had recently met to form a strategy against the PDP-BJP government’s “plans” to establish colonies for displaced Pandits and ex-servicemen of the state.

As per a Hurriyat Conference spokesperson, the trio have come together against proposed plans for “creation of the separate clusters for the Pandits and establishing of Sainik colonies”.