Sat. Jul 20th, 2019

BJP to revive plan for separate settlements for migrant KPs in Kashmir: Ram Madhav

New Delhi : The Bharatiya Janata Party will revive a plan to build secured camps to resettle scores of Kashmiri pundits in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley, senior leader Ram Madhav is reported to have said. Madhav, who is the BJP national general secretary said that his party was committed to helping bring back some of the estimated 200,000-300,000 Hindus .
“Their fundamental rights of returning to the valley have to be respected. At the same time, we have to provide them proper security,” Madhav said in an interview, referring to the Kashmiri Hindus, also known as Pandits.
Nearly 7 million people live in the Kashmir Valley, 97% of them Muslim, surrounded by hundreds of thousands of Indian troops and armed police deployed to quell an uprising against New Delhi’s rule. About 50,000 people have been killed in the conflict in the last three decades, according to official figures.
Madhav said that a previous BJP-backed government in Jammu and Kashmir state had considered building either separate or mixed resettlement townships, but had been unable to make headway. “No consensus could be built around any one view,” he said.
Union Home Ministry, which would be involved in any such building activity in the Kashmir Valley, did not respond to a request for comment.
A blueprint unveiled by the state government in 2015 had proposed self-contained, heavily guarded colonies for returning Pandits, complete with schools, shopping malls, hospitals and playgrounds.Separatist groups in the region had opposed the project, with some likening it to Israeli settlements within Palestinian territories.
The plan eventually stalled, particularly after the BJP’s alliance with a major regional party collapsed in June 2018, leading to the state coming under New Delhi’s direct rule. New state elections are likely before the end of the year. Leaders from the National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the two main regional parties in Kashmir, said they supported the return of Hindus but were opposed to separate townships.
The BJP is confident that it will win the upcoming state poll, Madhav said, adding that the resettlement plan would be back in play.
“I am sure when we come back to power, we will again take it up and try and see if a solution can be found,” he said.
Unlike the last time, the BJP isn’t looking to come to power through alliances, Madhav said, freeing itself of major regional parties that represent the region’s Muslims.

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