JAMMU, Jan 22: Maintaining that BJP is committed to welfare of all sections of refugees including honourable and dignified return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in Valley, Union Minister in PMO with independent charge of North Eastern States, Dr Jitendra Singh today said that his Party at its own level has taken various initiatives for their welfare right from the day one of their displacement from the Valley.
Talking to reporters here at the sidelines of a meeting with Baridars of Mata Vaishno Devi, the Union Minister while endorsing the recent resolution passed by the State Legislature on the return and rehabilitation of Pandits to Valley, expressed the hope that the opposition party which brought the resolution will follow its implementation with the same spirit. “The resolution should not be confined to letter only but it should be followed by the same spirit”, he added.
Acknowledging that Pandits belonged to an ancient civilization, he expressed the hope that the National Conference (NC) which moved the resolution will support the Government with the same spirit in settling the Pandits in Kashmir valley in accordance with the aspirations of the community. “They should cooperate with the Government in settling the Pandits in Valley for whatever means are adopted,” he added.
It may be recalled that last time some mainstream political parties including NC and Congress had opposed the establishment of separate colonies for Pandits in Valley.
Dr Singh said BJP is committed to settlement of problems of all refugees including West Pakistan, POJK, Kashmiri migrants and migrants from hilly areas of Jammu and various steps were taken by Narendra Modi Government in mitigating their sufferings.
On Kashmiri migrants, he said it was the BJP which from the initial days of their mass exodus took various measures for their temporary settlement and these were the senior Party leaders L K Advani and Dr Murli Manohar Joshi who prevailed upon the BJP run State Governments in various States of country to provide reservations to the migrant students in professional colleges so that the displaced youth from Valley can stand upon their legs.
On the demand made by certain leaders of the State that India should have dialogue with Pakistan to end the present hostilities, Dr Singh said that the final decision of holding the talks with Pakistan lies with External Affairs Ministry, Government of India.
On the demand of Baridars of Mata Vaishno Devi, Dr Singh said BJP has a commitment with them that they should get their due as they have not been given compensation till date. Expressing solidarity with these Baridars, the Union Minister said there is need of some amendment in the 1986 Act and all political parties should come forward for that.
The Union Minister said it is not only the matter of human justice but a matter of faith for us so all the parties should evolve a consensus on this genuine issue.
Dr Singh said being the MP, he has a privilege to address all the issues connected with holy shrine and resolve the same.
The Union Minister also stressed on Reconstitution of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) with the wider representation from Jammu region.
Earlier submitting a memorandum to Union Minister, the Baridars demanded justice for 30,000 souls of their community who have become idle after the constitution of Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board.
The Baridars also recalled the poll promise made with them by the BJP during Lok Sabha elections in 2014.
The memorandum while seeking the intervention of Union Minister appealed him to prevail upon the State Government to restore the rights of the Baridars at par with Pujaris and Baridars of other shrines existing in the other States of the country especially in Himachal Pradesh.
The memorandum further said that the Baridars are socially, economically and educationally backward class so they should be given 40 percent reservation in employment in the Shrine Board, 10 percent seat reservation in admission to their wards in Mata Vaishno Devi University and other educational institutions to be run by Shrine Board. It also demanded 33 percent representation to Baridars in the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board as was agreed in 1986 while constituting the Shrine Board.