'Separatists don't want Kashmiri Pandits to return'

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Jammu, Apr 21: Jammu and Kashmir's Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh on April 20 said that separatists in the Valley were making provocative statements to keep Kashmiri Pandits away from the region.

"The separatists do not want Kashmiri Pandits to return to Valley and settle there," Singh told reporters when asked to comment on the statements of separatists in Kashmir over the issue of setting up "composite township" in the state.

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Kashmir

Blaming the separatists for the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandit community from the Valley, he said that it was because of the statements made by the separatists that the community was forced to leave the Valley.

"It was because of these statements that they (Kashmiri Pandits) have been forced out of the Valley," Singh said.

He accused the separatists of dividing the people of the state on communal lines. "By using such language, they have divided the state on the religious lines and have communalised the situation in the state," he said.

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The minister said that separatists and communalisation of the situation in Kashmir resulted in the migrations of the Kashmiri Pandit community.

Singh also said that separatists were becoming irrelevant after the people reposed their faith in the democratic process by coming out in large number to vote.

"Separatists became irrelevant after people of the state voted for BJP and PDP to form the government," he said.

He said that with the mandate, the BJP-PDP government will fulfil the development aspirations of the people of the state and will not give any space to separatism and violence in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Our stand is very clear on the issue but some elements are trying to ferment trouble and they have got an opportunity to trigger anti-India protests in a (pro-Pak) rally in Srinagar," he said.

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He claimed that a small number of people participate in such activities while a large number of people want progress and development.

"What is the percentage of these people engaged in such acts, it is because of the silent majority that such things happen, they are silent and they only talk about peace progress and development," he said.

The minister said that the government's programme during the distribution of relief cheques to the flood-hit people was much bigger than that (separatist rally).

When asked to comment on separatist Masarat Alam, he said, "He was released due to court orders and now that he has done a blunder again. He is now in jail and action is being taken as per the law."

Rejecting allegations that government was soft toward Alam, he said,"We were not soft we have no weakness but it is appropriate time that action is initiated and that has been done. We have taken into consideration the law and order situation and taken action and we will continue to do so in future also, if such incidents are repeated."

PTI

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