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J&K govt making fresh attempts for Pandits' return to Valley: Ram Madhav

PTI 19 Apr 2016, 7:17:29 IST

New Delhi: The BJP-PDP government in Jammu and Kashmir is making a "fresh attempt" to ensure the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the valley, BJP general Secretary Ram Madhav, who played a key role in forging the alliance, said on Monday.

Stressing on the need for a "reconciliatory" stance, Madhav expressed hope that the government will take the process forward once "normalcy" is restored in the state, which has recently been rocked by violent protests.

Speaking at the release of 'The Kashmir Story', authored by Arjan Nath Chaku and Inder K Chaku, Madhav warned against equating the student protests at NIT Srinagar and the issue of Kashmiri pandits.

"Let's not equate the NIT Srinagar issue and the matter of Kashmiri Pandits to create passion. The issue of Kashmiri Pandits is much bigger and much more serious issue. Several efforts and attempts have been made to try and do justice to them. Under the new dispensation we are making a fresh attempt. I fully agree with the suspicion, yet under the given cicumstances we thought let us give it another try. If we fail, people are there to judge us. If things normalise soon in the valley I am sure the government will take this process forward," he said.

Actor Anupam Kher, Maj Gen (retd) GD Bakshi, Professor Amitabh Mattoo and lawyer-activist Shabnam Lone were also present on the occasion which saw a panel discussion on the 'integration' of Pandits in the valley.

Responding to a question on the demand for the shifting of the NIT Srinagar campus, Mahdav said, "If you say you have to follow the narrative of the students, then you will have to do the same to students of JNU and other universities. We have to allay their fear. They are in the valley to pursue academic career and not politics. We have to ensure their security."

Kher, who was recently denied permission to visit NIT Srinagar, termed as a "tragedy" the fact that the book was being launched in the national capital and not the Jammu and Kashmir capital.

Speaking about the plight of Kashmiri Pandits, Kher said, "When there is a Dadri, which was a really unfortunate incident, you see a lot of people writing about it but the same people don't talk about the Pandits."

Kher said before any reconciliation, it was imperative to first "acknowledge" that the Pandits were "thrown out" of the Valley in a "planned and brutal" way.

Madhav said the governments in Srinagar and Delhi were trying to tackle the anti-national forces in the best possible manner. "You have to tackle them legally when you are in the government. You cannot just take out the gun and shoot them."

"You cannot say this situation has cropped up in 2015 or 16. Jammu and Kashmir has had a long history of such anti-national sentiments," he said.

Madhav said the focus should be on increasing the area of influence in the Valley instead of confrontation so that the national flag can be handed over to the separatists as well after winning them over.

Lone said that Madhav's precription betrays a lack of "sensitivity" and that the BJP-PDP coalition has started off on the most "dangerous note".

Madhav and Mattoo, a former adviser to state chief minister late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, said the plan to rehabilitate Kashmiri Pandits was part of the Agenda of Alliance.