As MHA says no to townships for KPs, Spl Rep to visit Jagti camp today

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Nov 23: As Centre Government’s Special Representative on Jammu and Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, was set to embark on his second visit to the State, beginning tomorrow from Jammu region, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has created a flutter by announcing that there was no plan with the Ministry to set up composite townships for displaced Kashmiri Pandit migrants in the Kashmir valley.
The Centre Government had been maintaining for the past quite some time that the Government would construct composite townships for Kashmiri Pandit migrants in the Valley as part of their rehabilitation plan.
Surprisingly, Sharma would be starting his second visit to Jammu and Kashmir tomorrow by touring Jagti migrant township in Nagrota to inter-act with the Kashmiri Pandit migrants there and listen to their problems. He had met Kashmiri Pandit representatives during his first visit to discuss roadmap for their dignified return and rehabilitation. Besides, he would also meet the border dwellers of both Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) to listen to their problems. He would also meet refugees from West Pakistan and others during his two-day stay here.
Sharma’s second visit to J&K would also last six days, like the first one from November 6-11. He would be in Jammu on November 24 and 25 and depart for Srinagar in the morning of November 26. He was likely to visit South Kashmir besides meeting various delegations in Kashmir from November 26 to 29 and return to New Delhi in the afternoon of November 29.
The MHA’s stand, which was made known in a reply furnished to a Jammu youth on facilities being provided and proposed to be given to Kashmiri Pandit migrants, is being seen as a major shift in the Centre Government’s stand as the BJP led Government had earlier been maintaining that it would set up composite townships for Kashmiri Pandit migrants in the Valley for their rehabilitation.
“This Ministry (the MHA) doesn’t have any plan to set up composite townships for displaced Kashmiri Pandit migrants,” the MHA reply given by Ram Krishna Swarnakar, Director MHA, said.
However, the MHA has listed details of other measures taken for relief and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants.
Significantly, the Home Ministry’s stand on no composite townships for displaced Kashmiri Pandit migrants came just a day after the MHA announced series of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) including manifold increase in compensation of losses suffered by civilians due to Pakistan ceasefire violations, free 800mw power to the State, amnesty to first-time stone pelters and massive increase in relief for Jammu and Kashmir Police martyrs.
Sources told the Excelsior that Dineshwar Sharma would visit Jagti migrant township in Nagrota in the afternoon to meet the Kashmiri Pandit migrants and their representatives
During his visit to Kashmir, sources said, Sharma could travel to South Kashmir and North Kashmir, where still a number of militants were active, where he would like to meet parents of the militants, who have surrendered and those who were still in militancy as he would like families of the militants making an appeal for their surrender.
“Appeals for surrender by families of two militants have worked well as both of them have returned home including a footballer,” sources said, adding the Special Representative hoped that appeals by more families to their kin to shun violence and return to mainstream could have significant impact.
Sources said Dineshwar Sharma is keen to meet parents who’ve appealed to their newly-recruited children to leave militancy and return to the mainstream and details are being worked out, but the meeting will happen only if the parents want.
The Centre’s Special Representative will meet anyone who wants to address grievances, including parents of misguided youth or the ex-militant(s).
“But it will depend on their desire to meet him,” sources said.
Sources said Sharma is open to meet Majid Khan – a footballer-turned-militant who recently surrendered – to understand him.
Sources said that Sharma will also meet people who came from West Pakistan immediately after partition in 1947 and settled in Jammu. There are nearly three lakh such people.
Besides, he will visit camps housing those displaced from their homes in border villages to understand their plight and ensure that they are properly rehabilitated.
The high point of his visit, sources said, will be his interactions with youths and students in Pulwama and Anantnag.
The districts were the epicenters of unrest following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen’s poster boy Burhan Wani on July 8 last year.
Pulwama also earned the notorious distinction of being the nerve centre of militancy with anti-insurgency operations being launched on a war footing in the area.
Separatist leaders may have given Dineshwar Sharma a cold shoulder. But sources said he will focus on youth in the militancy-hit areas of Anantnag and Pulwama. The interlocutor is going with an open mind to speak to youth who have led the stone-pelting movement, sources said.
Sharma will reach South Kashmir on November 26 with an aims to find the root cause of radicalization in the Valley and dissuading youth from becoming militants. After his appointment as the Special Representative, Sharma had voiced concern over radicalization of the youths in Jammu and Kashmir.
A suggestion of the Interlocutor has already been put into practice by withdrawing cases against first-time stone-pelters besides announcement of other CBMs by the MHA two days back. Sources said the CBMs came just days ahead of Sharma’s second visit to Jammu and Kashmir and were a clear message that the Centre would act upon recommendations made by him.
Sources said Sharma is open to listening to young peoples’ grievances and making suggestions. He’s likely to engage with the Jammu and Kashmir Government to provide employment to youth in Kashmir’s tourism and horticulture sectors.
In the next phase, sources said, Sharma will also meet Kashmiri students studying in Delhi-NCR and neighbouring States, such as Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.


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