SC`s poser to J&K Govt on plight of Kashmiri pandits

SC wanted J&K Government to explain whether even one out of the thousands of Kashmiri pandits who fled the Valley have been provided with house or employment.

Updated: Jan 17, 2011, 21:45 PM IST

New Delhi: Asking the J&K Government not to just harp on "dream proposals", the Supreme Court on Monday wanted it to explain whether even one out of the thousands of Kashmiri pandits who fled the Valley following the outbreak of militancy have been provided with house or employment.

The court`s remarks came on a petition filed by the All India Kashmiri Samaj which alleged that neither the State nor the Centre was addressing the grievances of the Kashmiri pandits who have been suffering for over two decades.

A three judge bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia, justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar asked the State to come out with the actual data on the steps taken to ameliorate the plight of pandits forced to flee the Valley.

"Tell us what have you done with your promise of providing 15,000 jobs.... Have you given a single job. Or for that matter have you given them a single house.
"We don`t want to go by your dream proposals, but want some firm action," the bench told the State counsel while adjourning the matter by four weeks.

The apex court further asked the Government to explain whether it had set aside even a single sale of house as illegal since hundreds of houses between 1990-1997 belonging to the Kashmiri pandits had been auctioned and sold illegally by vested interests after the victims fled the place.

"Can you show us even one instance where you have set aside the sale and given it back to the victim?" the bench queried.

The counsel said he would respond to the queries by the next date of hearing.
The apex court during the earlier hearing had sought a response from the State government on the Rs 1,618- crore special package offered by Centre for restoring properties of and providing jobs to the pandits.

It had then expressed reservations over the Centre`s scheme which was not clear as to how the migrants on return will stay without any accomodation.

"Where will the people who want to go stay ? Now their properties have been sold or auctioned. There are number of petitions pending in the High Court. How will they go? Without house, how can people go back to Jammu and Kashmir," the bench had earlier queried the Government.

Centre`s Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising had said the properties auctioned between 1990 to 1997 would be declared "illegal" and would be "restored".

"All those auctions are illegal and they will be cancelled," she had assured.

According to the Centre Rs 12.5 crore has already been allocated to the state government for providing transit housing to the migrants.

An estimated 4.5 lakh Kashmiri pandits had migrated from the Valley over 20 years back, fearful of a separatist insurgency.

PTI