SC''s poser to J&K Govt on plight of Kashmiri pandits

Posted By: Pti
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New Delhi, Jan 17 (PTI) Asking the J&K Government notto just harp on "dream proposals", the Supreme Court todaywanted it to explain whether even one out of the thousands ofKashmiri pandits who fled the Valley following the outbreak ofmilitancy have been provided with house or employment.

The court''s remarks came on a petition filed by theAll India Kashmiri Samaj which alleged that neither the Statenor the Centre was addressing the grievances of the Kashmiripandits who have been suffering for over two decades.

A three judge bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia,justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar asked the Stateto come out with the actual data on the steps taken toameliorate the plight of pandits forced to flee the Valley.

"Tell us what have you done with your promise ofproviding 15,000 jobs.... Have you given a single job. Or forthat matter have you given them a single house.

"We don''t want to go by your dream proposals, but wantsome firm action," the bench told the State counsel whileadjourning the matter by four weeks.

The apex court further asked the Government to explainwhether it had set aside even a single sale of house asillegal since hundreds of houses between 1990-1997 belongingto the Kashmiri pandits had been auctioned and sold illegallyby vested interests after the victims fled the place.

"Can you show us even one instance where you have setaside the sale and given it back to the victim?" the benchqueried.

The counsel said he would respond to the queriesby the next date of hearing.

The apex court during the earlier hearing had soughta response from the State government on the Rs 1,618- crorespecial package offered by Centre for restoring properties ofand providing jobs to the pandits.

It had then expressed reservations over the Centre''sscheme which was not clear as to how the migrants on returnwill stay without any accomodation.

"Where will the people who want to go stay ? Nowtheir properties have been sold or auctioned. There are numberof petitions pending in the High Court. How will they go ?Without house, how can people go back to Jammu and Kashmir,"the bench had earlier queried the Government.

Centre''s Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaisinghad said the properties auctioned between 1990 to 1997 wouldbe declared "illegal" and would be "restored".

"All those auctions are illegal and they will becancelled," she had assured.

According to the Centre Rs 12.5 crore has already beenallocated to the state government for providing transithousing to the migrants.

An estimated 4.5 lakh Kashmiri pandits had migratedfrom the Valley over 20 years back, fearful of a separatistinsurgency.

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