By Deepak Sharma
New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) Union Home Minister Amit Shah and his team of senior officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) are formulating an “effective policy” for rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley. Highly-placed sources in the Home Ministry said that Amit Shah had chaired several meetings with the key officials of MHA’s Kashmir Division in this connection, during the past one month.
Besides, tackling external and home- grown terrorism with a pro-active strategy in Jammu and Kashmir, Shah intends to rehabilitate Kashmiri Pandits, numbering around three lakh who left the Kashmir valley in the aftermath of premeditated violent attacks by extremist outfits which began after 1989.
Sources said the Centre is contemplating building secured residential areas for Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley. The plan would be more impressive than the one earlier proposed by the Jammu and Kashmir government in 2015. Apart from the resettlement plan, the Home Minister is also focusing on welfare schemes, specially meant for widows, terror victims, handicapped and senior citizens residing in the terror stricken state.
On Friday, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satyapal Malik had hinted that the government was in the process of devising an important policy for rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley. The Governor was hopeful that if all went well, the policy would be announced soon. Sources said that after the conclusion of Amarnath Yatra, next month, the government might come out with its policy, marking a paradigm shift in rehabilitation plan for Kashmiri Pandits, awaiting a concrete policy for their resettlement since past three decades.
Earlier, in a reply to a question in the Lok Sabha on July 16 last, Minister of State for Home Affairs, G. Kishan Reddy had said that the Prime Minister had approved construction of 6,000 transit accommodation for Kashmiri migrants in the Valley at a cost Rs 920 crore. The centre is also giving monthly relief of Rs 13,000 per month to each Kashmiri migrant family.
Sources said that the MHA had also suggested to the Governor and his advisors that they widen the scope of anti corruption enquiries in the state. Home Minister Amit Shah is of the view that a lobby of corrupt officials, backed by certain politicians, had been siphoning off funds related to welfare and development projects. The black sheep among the bureaucracy and lower rung officers in the administration have been identified and the newly formed anti-corruption agency has been asked to take action against them.
Sources said that the Home Minister has also instructed the police and civil officials that separatist leaders and their supporters should be dealt with an iron hand.