New Delhi [India], Mar. 31 : Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday appealed to the Kashmiri Pandits to visit the Valley.
“Kashmiri Pandits should visit Kashmir, their younger generations should see where their roots really lie. We will make all arrangements. Whatever has happened in the past is unfortunate but now we will have to move forward,” the Chief Minister said at an interactive session with the Kashmiri Pandits in Delhi.
Mufti also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take a leaf out of former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s book and initiate a dialogue with Pakistan.
“I urge Prime Minister Modi to talk to Pakistan just like Vajpayee ji did. Neither are we nor is Pakistan in a condition to fight a war, both countries know now that if there will be a war, nothing will be spared. Both the nations will just lose everything,” Mufti added.
At the same event, a man from the crowd stood up and questioned Mufti on relief for the Kashmiri Pandits.
The Kashmiri Pandits began to leave the Valley in greater numbers in the 1990s during the eruption of militancy, following persecution and threats by radical Islamists and militants.
In 2010, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir noted that 808 Pandit families were still living in the Valley and that the financial and other incentives put in place to encourage others to return there had been unsuccessful. According to a Jammu and Kashmir Government report, 219 members of the community had been killed in the region between 1989 and 2004 but none thereafter.
However, in July 2017, the Supreme Court refused to reopen 215 cases in which over 700 members of the Kashmiri Pandit community were killed in Jammu and Kashmir in 1989, citing the passage of time.