New Delhi: Backing the voices demanding rehabilitation of Kashmir Pandits in the valley, the BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Saturday said their rights must be protected and they should be rehabilitated.
Naqvi's remark came after reports were out that Home Minister Rajnath Singh has written a letter to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, asking him to identify a suitable land for the rehabilitation of some three lakh Kashmiri Pandits who migrated from the Kashmir Valley in the early 1990's due to militancy.
The Narendra Modi Government has committed itself to the return of some 62,000 Kashmiri Pandit families with "full dignity" to their homes in the Valley and has earmarked Rs 500 crore for this in the 2014-15 Union budget.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh wrote to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for allocation of "suitable" land for creating dwelling units for these families under the Government's plan for implementation of the rehabilitation scheme for migrants.
Singh suggested that the land may be identified near the native place from where they migrated and also advised that this should be done in such a manner there was adequate security in and around the area.
At present, there are about 62,000 registered Kashmiri migrant families who migrated from the Kashmir Valley to either Jammu, Delhi or to other parts of the country after the onset of militancy in the border state.
Singh's missive came ahead of the State Assembly elections likely to be held in November-December this year for which BJP has declared its intention to seek a majority in the 87-member legislature, a target not easy to achieve.
Political parties in Kashmir and even separatist groups have favoured return of the Pandits but are strongly opposed to creation of separate colonies for them.
The Home Minister, in his letter, said the Union government is "committed to facilitate the return of the Kashmiri migrants to the Valley and their proper rehabilitation."
Singh said in order to achieve these goals, the Centre has already earmarked a sum of Rs 500 crore which was announced during the presentation of the new government's first budget.
(With PTI inputs)