KPs meet Prez, demand annulment of Article 370

NEW DELHI, June 15:
Criticising the report of Centre’s interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir, a delegation of Kashmiri Pandits today submitted a memorandum to President Pratibha Patil seeking annulment of Article 370, which gives ‘special’ status to the State.
The delegation informed Patil that they have reservation about the interlocutors report as it has nothing concrete for their community.
“Article 370 is the biggest problem for us. We are against the report of interlocutors…There is nothing concrete in the report for Kashmiri Pandits,” Kashmiri Pandit Conference president Kundan Kashmiri said after the meeting.
“We have no political identity. Our Indian identity is also dependent on regional identity. Our regional identity must be restored,” said Sunil Shakdar, a delegation member.
The Interlocutors report said no more central laws and Articles of the Constitution should be extended to the State by Presidential order.
The report also wants the State’s status to be termed as ‘special’, as a broad consensus exists in the State on the point that the State’s distinctive status guaranteed by Article 370 must be upheld.
The memorandum laid down by the delegation includes enactment of law to protect and promote Kashmiri Hindu Religious Property, consolidated rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits, abrogation of Article 370 and age relaxation and cash assistance of Rs 25 lakh to over aged KP youths.
It also included enhancement of relief to KP relief holders up to Rs 12,000 per family, permission to visit Sharda temple for pilgrimage, and judicial probe into the ethnic cleansing and genocide of KP community among other demands.
“We want a consolidated piece of land for Kashmiri Pandits, where we can live separately together as a community and Indian citizen, under the Indian law,” Kashmiri said.
“All temples in Kashmir are in a bad shape and they have been demolished. There should be KP Shrine Bill through which the temples can be protected…The manner in which Muslims from Pakistan are coming to Ajmer Sharif, the way Sikhs are allowed to go to Nanakanasahib, the same way Kashmiris and all Hindus must be granted the permission to go to Sharada temple (in Pakistan) for pilgrimage,” he said.
The delegation also demanded a township in Delhi or outskirts where those displaced KPs, who reside in clusters on rent or those who do not have a place of their own, can be settled.
The delegation also presented to the president two books-Temples of Kashmir by C.L. Gadoo and Drashti by J.L Sher and a volume of Sandij Phoolay-a collection of devotional songs by B.N. Abhilash. (PTI)


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