Parliamentary panel recommends minority status for Kashmiri Pandits

A Parliamentary committee has recommended that the Home Ministry should persuade the Jammu and Kashmir government to look into the issue of granting minority status to Kashmiri Pandits keeping in mind their "pitiable condition".

PTI| Updated: Mar 20, 2015, 23:01 PM IST

New Delhi: A Parliamentary committee has recommended that the Home Ministry should persuade the Jammu and Kashmir government to look into the issue of granting minority status to Kashmiri Pandits keeping in mind their "pitiable condition".

"The committee is of the opinion that the Ministry of Home Affairs should persuade the state government to look into the issue keeping in mind the pitiable condition of Kashmiri Pandits," department related standing committee on Home Affairs said in its 184th report.

The committee notes that according to the Jammu and Kashmir government, the Kashmiri Pandits belong to Hindu religion and as such do not qualify for grant of minority status.

However, the committee feels that the issue of granting minority status needs to be examined by the state government from all angles.

"The committee feels that the state of Jammu and Kashmir has a special status in Indian Constitution. The government of Jammu and Kashmir should look into the demand of the Kashmiri Pandits for conferring on them minority status keeping in mind their pitiable condition," the report said.

Due to onset of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir in early 1990s, most of the Kashmiri Pandit families migrated from the Kashmir Valley to Jammu, Delhi and other cities in different states.

There are about 62,000 registered Kashmiri migrant families in the country. About 40,000 registered Kashmiri migrant families are residing in Jammu, about 19,338 registered Kashmiri migrant families are in Delhi and about 1,995 families are residing in other states.

As a result of packages offered to these families by the government in 2008, one family has returned to the Kashmir Valley while government jobs have been provided to 1,466 migrant youths and 469 transit accommodations have been constructed in the Kashmir Valley.