‘Return of Kashmiri Pandits essential’

Return of Kashmiri Pandits to their homes is essential for peace in Kashmir, Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain said.

Vessu (J&K): Return of Kashmiri Pandits to their homes is essential for peace in Kashmir, GOC of 15 Corps Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain on Monday said while holding a public hearing along with civil administration here to address grievances of the community.

Presiding over `Awami Sunwayi` or public hearing for Kashmiri Pandits here in south Kashmir`s Kulgam district, Lt Gen Hasnain emphasised on `Kashmiriyat` as being an "essential and inseparable entity" of Kashmiri identity.

"Army would support various development works for rehabilitation and return of Kashmiri Pandits on the pattern of Corporate Social Responsibility in the valley," he said.

Return of Kashmiri Pandits to their homes would be the most essential milestone in the search for peace in Kashmir," Lt Gen Hasnain said.
GOC Victor Force Major General R R Nimbhorkar, Deputy Commissioners of Anantnag and Kulgam districts and other senior army and civil administration officials were also present at the hearing at Vessu, 65 kms from Srinagar.

Kashmiri Pandits, from Vessu migrant camp, and other non-migrant Pandit camps, who attended the function spoke of their demands ranging from clean drinking water, transport facility to availability of schools and computer labs.

"The water we receive through tankers is muddy, please ensure that we get clean drinking water," a Pandit woman said.
Another Pandit demanded that the dispensary at the camp has no doctors prompting the Army commander to assure that two doctors from the force will visit their camp twice a week.

This public hearing will be the last of a series of such Awami Sunwayis held regularly during Lt Gen Hasnain`s tenure as commander of the Army in Kashmir since he has now been transferred to the Army headquarters in New Delhi this month.

Army also felicitated 15 Pandits for their "service to nation" and work to "uplift" their community.

APMCC chairman Vinod Pandit thanked the Army officer for the support extended to Kashmiri Pandit community in their return and rehabilitation to their homes.
Pandit requested the Army to construct a community centre for Kashmir Pandits, where they can perform their social functions.