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Kashmir Newz Board

Kashmiri migrant colony gets first inmates

Srinagar, Tuesday, March 04, 2008:

In what may be the beginning of settlement of displaced Kashmir Pandits (Hindus) in isolated colonies, 31 Kashmiri Pandit families were Monday shifted to special residential flats in Budgam district of Indian administered Kashmir.

The flats constructed by the government for the Pandits at Sheikhpora Migrant Colony in Budgam will be guarded by Indian troops to ward off any possible attacks.

The Deputy Commissioner Budgam handed over the keys of the flats to the families.

Officials said the families had been putting up in hired accommodations in the district.

The government’s plan to settle Pandits has been criticised by many people from the majority Muslim community as well by some Pandits, who fear such a move can lead to hostilities among the communities.

A large number of Kashmiri Pandits migrated from Kashmir valley to Jammu province in 1990 after the outbreak of an armed anti-India insurgency in the Muslim dominated region.

Kashmir Pandits blame Muslim militants for their exodus, while Muslims say the exodus was the brainchild of then governor Jagmohan.

A miniscule portion of the Hindu population chose to stay back with their Muslim neighbours, but questions about their safety arose first in 1998, when 23 Pandits were massacred inside their houses by unidentified gunmen in Wandhama village, 30 km from Srinagar, summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir.

Kashmiri separatists including the both factions of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference have been calling for the return of Pandits, but have opposed the idea of settling them in isolated colonies guarded by Indian troops.

The families shifted to the Shiekpura colony are among the ones who had been staying in the Kashmir valley.

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