J&K Government issues identity cards to Kashmiri Pandits

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New Delhi, Oct 4 (UNI) The Jammu and Kashmir Government today issued the first batch of identity cards to about 700 displaced Kashmiri Pandits which would ''safeguard and secure'' the identity of the community.

The cards were handed over to the individuals here by Jammu and Kashmir Principal Resident Commissioner S V Bhave.

The document, a long-standing demand of the Pandits, would establish their regional, national and political identity but carry no financial benefits.

Addressing the community members at a function, organised by the Delhi Kashmiri Samiti, Mr Bhave said the major part of issuing identity cards to all the members of the community had been completed.

''The issuance of the card will also bring in to focus the problems faced by the Kashmiri Pandits...,'' he added.

Lauding the ''first step'' of the Government in addressing the issues if the Pandits, Samiti Political Affairs Committee Chairman Sunil Shakdher demanded that the identity card be converted into 'relief cards' for the community.

''This card will assure that scores of Pandits will not be asked to prove their identity in their own country... This will re-establish our identity as original inhabitants of Jammu and Kashmir,'' he added.

He also demanded housing and economic benefits for all the Pandits living in exile since insurgency erupted in Jammu and Kashmir in 1989.

UNI

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