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Create separate ministry for displaced Pandits: AIKS
Kashmiri Pandits have asked the government to create a separate ministry for displaced Kashmiri Pandits to address their immediate problems at the ministry level. The demand was put forth by Moti Kaul, the newly elected president of AIKS

KASHMIRI PANDITS have asked the government to create a separate ministry for displaced Kashmiri Pandits to address their immediate problems at the ministry level. The demand was put forth by Pt Moti Kaul the newly elected president of All India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS), the apex global body of 62 Kashmiri Pandit organisations in India and abroad, at his maiden press conference here today (May 6).

He said that since all the establishments and institutions have failed KPs, Pandits with five thousand years of history shall now shape their own destiny on their own terms.

Kaul said that Kashmiri Pandits have been ignored by the successive state and central governments for the past 20 years of their forced exile and it was the need of the hour to setup a separate ministry for them to deal with their worsening economic and social problems.

He said that Kashmiri Pandits have been denied the legitimate rights and warned of an agitational path if the demands of Kashmiri Pandits were not met immediately. Elaborating his new strategy for the Kashmiri Pandit community, Kaul said that his organisation would pursue the creation of Developmental Board, employment to unemployed Pandit youth and the concept of constituencies in exile adding AIKS would see to it that at least one of the above demands is met within six months for which the organidation would use every possible measure to achieve its set targets.

He also cited a few priority areas of the organisation for which a sustained pressure would be exerted at the local, national and international levels which include the creation of constituencies in exile, passing of Shrines and Temples Bill for Kashmir Valley, Developmental Board for Pandits and setting up of a separate ministry for Pandits in the state.

He said, “AIKS believes that only a proper political space and restoration of constitutional rights can safeguard this ethnic minority (Kashmiri Pandits). We therefore demand that the constituencies in Exile should be created on priority for the displaced community. At the same time AIKS believe that no government on earth can forfeit the rights of Kashmiri Pandits.”

On unemployment of Kashmiri Pandit, Kaul said that unemployment was the most burning problem of the Kashmiri Pandit community adding during their exile 30,000 KP employees got retired and now there were such a small number of KPs in government jobs, who can be counted on finger tips.
Regretting the lackluster approach of the government Kaul said that despite the constitution of three committees viz, Koul Committee, Sushma Chowdhury committee and Parliamentary Standing Committee to assess the ground realities of displaced Kashmiri Pandits, nothing has come out of the reports.

He said that the Sushma Chowdhry Committee of 2004 recommended 10,000 jobs for KPs followed by 1000 jobs every year, which were further approved by the Parliamentary Standing Committee but the government slept over the issue and questioned the justification of such committees if the government does not want to implement their recommendations.

Seeking to safe guard the interests of the traders of the community Kaul demanded self employment opportunities like subsidy, soft loans, allotment of shops and land be provided to them so that they can sustain their families ion this time of misery.

He said that the need for the developmental councils was felt as to look after all the aspirations of the displaced community like rehabilitation, economics, employment, education, health, etc, lamenting the among the funds allocated for the community not more than 30 per cent reach to the actual needy persons as the rest is either swindled by the officials or diverted to the other works of the state.
Introducing Dr Usha Ticku as Co-Convener of the Women wing of AIKS Moti Kaul said that she would look after the schemes that are introduced by the state and central governments for the welfare of girl child as the same schemes never reach to Pandit girls due to the official apathy besides giving equal representation to women in AIKS.

He further explained that that women wing of AIKS would explore some self employment opportunities for exiled women living below poverty line in collaboration with the national and international women groups. AIKS has established a secretariat in Jammu and its working; Administrative and Advisory groups would be announced very shortly, he added.

Kaul said that even after two decades of continued terrorism in Kashmir resulting in ethnic cleansing of a minority community (Kashmiri Pandits) the Government was yet to evolve national policy on Kashmir, adding it was a shame that a hard core patriotic community had to suffer within an independent India.
According to Kaul,  Kashmiri Pandits have been denied all the fundamental rights, including the right to vote but still they were equally conscious of the fact that only through political empowerment, one can survive as a distinct ethnic minority within an unscrupulous majority which is why KPs participated in the last Assembly elections forcefully.

He however regretted that in India the anti national elements, who boycott elections are being given VIP treatment, whereas the Kashmiri Pandits who still have the faith in the democracy of this great nation are treated brutally

Dr Ramesh Raina, General Secretary AIKS, DN Kissu Senior leader of Community and Dr Usaha Tickoo, Co-Convener of Women Wing of AIKS were also present in the press conference.


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