JAMMU, Feb 12: Making a scathing attack on Congress, Union Minister of State in PMO with Independent charge of North Eastern States, Dr Jitendra Singh today said that the party is creating one or other issue to run away from debate and discussion in Parliament.
Talking to reporters here at the sidelines of a conference organized by KP Joint Action at Press Club , Dr Jitendra Singh said that Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has done nothing for which BJP will be apologetic. Instead, he has complimented former Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh by his remarks. “In comparison to that Congress has never given any compliment to the former Prime Ministers P V Narsimha Rao and Dr Manmohan Singh or former Home Minister, Sardar Patel but they concentrated on a particular dynasty,” he regretted.
Maintaining that there is lot of public anger over the role of Congress, the Union Minister said the people are conscious today and they will not forgive Congress for this. Terming it a vain attempt on the part of Congress, he said the party has failed to make it an issue.
Dr Jitendra Singh, while reiterating that BJP as well as Narendra Modi Government is for dignified and honourable return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in Valley as per their aspirations, said the displaced Pandits have to set their agenda in this regard instead of giving confusing signals.
In response to a question regarding the resolution passed by State Legislature on honourable and dignified return of Pandits to Valley, Dr Singh said BJP is committed to ensure safe and respectable return and rehabilitation of Pandits as per their aspirations.
He said the decision in this regard depends on priorities and sensitivities of Pandits and the party can’t go beyond their expectations.
On recent opposition by separatists on establishing of colonies for Pandits in Valley, the Union Minister said they are talking about Kashmiriyat and composite culture on the one hand and on the other hand opposing the return of Pandits as restoration of Kashmiriyat and composite culture is not possible without the return of Pandits.
“So the civil society in Kashmir should introspect over this issue and create a conducive atmosphere for return and rehabilitation of Pandits in Valley otherwise they will not be able to restore Kashmiriyat without them,” he added.
On the withholding of grants amounting to Rs 900 crore by Centre to the State for not holding of elections to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), Dr Jitendra Singh strongly advocated for implementation of 73rd and 47th Constitutional amendments in the State. “This way the funds coming from Centre will be directly utilized by ULBs and Panchayats and it will make the system more transparent and accountable. The BJP is for strengthening the basic institutes of democracy to fulfill the dreams of Pt. Deendayal Upadayay, the mentor of party,” he added.
Earlier, addressing the conference, Dr Jitendra Singh said that only Narendra Modi has the capacity to find out a solution to the problems of displaced Pandits and no one else. He said Prime Minister is fully aware of J&K because he was incharge of the State for a long time.
While commenting on the memorandum submitted to him by the KP Joint Action, he assured the community leaders that he will discuss their issues with Home Minister and initiate a process for dialogue provided the terms and conditions of the memorandum are acceptable to majority members of the community.
Dr Jitendra Singh said the Union Government is ready to discuss any aspect of return including the homeland with Pandits provided the community evolved a consensus on that. “The homeland can’t be achieved by merely writing articles in newspapers,” he added.
On implementation of employment package, the Union Minister said that KPs should not remain confined up to package only but being the citizens of the State, they can apply for other posts also.
He said Pandits are important component of Kashmiri culture and without them composite culture is not possible in the Valley. The exodus of the community is not only linked to demography change in Kashmir but much serious issue than that as it is a civilizational change.
He made it clear that Narendra Modi Government has no problem regarding the rehabilitation and settlement of Pandits in the Valley but the decision has to be taken by community. Even Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti recently told Assembly that why colonies will not be constructed for Pandits in Valley, he added.
Justifying that KPs have every right on land of Kashmir, he said they can work in any part of the world but this does not mean they have lost the right on their motherland.
Expressing concern over settlement of foreigners in the State, he said entire society should show concern for the same. He also made it clear that BJP will not compromise its ideology and principles. The Agenda of Alliance has been formed with PDP for Government formation but made it clear that party has not left the ideology dear to it.
Speaking on the occasion, BJP president Sat Sharma said that problem in Kashmir surfaced since Sheikh Abdullah took reigns of the State. “Had the then Union Government at Centre seen the writing on the wall the migration of Pandits would have never taken place.”
He said BJP is committed for KPs return with honour and dignity as well as welfare of PoJK refugees and West Pakistan refugees.
He assured the community that their long wait and 28 year long period of exile will end during the Modi rule and expressed the hope that within one or two years this issue will be settled and the community will be rehabilitated in Valley as per its choice.
He said earlier BJP was only holding debates and discussions regarding your problems but now party is in decision making position and certainly the decision will be as per Pandits choice. He termed the joining of Panun Kashmir (PK) and Youth All India Kashmiri Samaj (YAIKS) a good indication in this regard.
Addressing the conference, PK president Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo said that Pandits expectations have increased with BJP which is in power both at the State and Centre now.
He said a new era has started in country since Narendra Modi took over the reigns in 2014 and it is the beginning of Ram Rajya.
He said the two organisations of Pandits have joined hands to pursue a new agenda of displaced people. “I hope what we decide today will yield fruit for generations to come’’, he added.
He said the Margdarshan resolution passed 25 years back is the corner stone to fulfill the Pandits geo-political aspirations. Ashwani strongly advocated for abrogation of Article 370 and demanded that Dr Shamaprashad Mookerjee who laid down his life for cause of the nationalist people of J&K be given Bharat Ratna.
Highlighting Pandits problems, he said the 6000 job package announced in 2008 has not been implemented till date and only 25 percent jobs have been given out of it. Demanding implementation of package in totality, he said KPs be also given 1000 job package in Central Government departments.
He also demanded that proper care should be taken of Pandits living in Valley under difficult conditions as nothing has changed in Kashmir as problem is still there as it was.
The other demands highlighted by him was release of leave encashment for displaced employees, payment of 50 percent ex-gratia for burnt properties, compensation for encroachments and one time settlement of over-aged youth. He also demanded that GoI should take temples issue seriously and appealed the GoI to start a comprehensive dialogue with community representatives.
He also announced Pt Amarnath Vaishnavi Award which was given to senior KP leader and president All India Kashmiri Pandit Conference (AIKPC) HN Jattu. The award was conferred to him by Dr Jitendra Singh and Sat Sharma.
President YAIKS R K Bhat while highlighting the problems of the community accused the Government of not being sincere towards them. He said YAIKS took a major initiative regarding return of youth to Valley under PM’s employment package but it is disgusting that out of 2000 youth only 700 package employees have been provided accommodation. Moreover, there are no schooling or medical facilities near transit camps in Valley. He asked when the Government could not provide facilities to 2000 people how can it provide the same to entire community on its return.
Maintaining that Pandits are pinning high hopes in PM, Bhat said if they can’t be rehabilitated in BJP’s rule, then it will never happen. He demanded that dialogue be started with the community representatives and State Government should issue white paper that what they have done for Pandits on their own as for every thing they say funds have not come from Centre.
Former president Kashmir Overseas Association (KOA) Sanjay Kaul, who also spoke on the occasion, justified the demands put forth by the KP Joint Action in their memorandum submitted to Dr Jitendra Singh and said that the terrorism and fundamentalism still prevails in Valley.
He said Pandits putting up in any corner of globe have an emotional attachment with Kashmir as it is their motherland. He said growing unemployment among community youth has resulted into further exodus.
He, however, said that 27 year long turmoil has shown them how to survive and exist. He demanded that GoI should take concrete measures on long term rehabilitation of Pandits.
H N Jattu also spoke on the occasion and stressed on unity among the community. The vote of thanks was proposed by Virender Raina national spokesperson PK while stage was managed by Kusum Tickoo.