Congress questions govt on J&K’s development, rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits

Congress MP from Bengal Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Saturday questioned the government regarding the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits while discussing the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 in the Lok Sabha.

Chowdhury said the government has not been able to keep the promises mentioned in the BJP’s electoral manifesto. “You didn’t succeed in giving the 200-300 acres of land to Pandits as promised in your election manifesto. You had promised that you would bring back Pandits (to Kashmir). Did you succeed? You should at least say that since the polls are over so there is an obligation to fulfil the promise,” Chowdhury was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Congress along with other opposition parties also attacked the BJP over the abrogation of Article 370. Chowdhury said that bringing back Gilgit-Baltistan is a separate matter but the home minister should also try on bringing back displaced Brahmins back to Kashmir. He said, “Mr Amit Shah said that he’ll bring back Brahmins. Did he succeed in bringing back Pandits? You say you’ll bring back Gilgit-Baltistan. It’s a matter that can be discussed later but at least (the government) should bring back those who were internally displaced, those who cannot return to the Kashmir valley.”

The lawmakers also debated whether officers outside Jammu and Kashmir should be assigned in administrative positions within the state. BJP MPs Satpal Singh, TRS MP Nama Nageswara Rao and Brijendra Singh of BJP said that if civil service officers from outside Jammu and Kashmir are posted in administrative positions, then it will help the region to become a part of mainstream processes which was earlier not possible due to Article 370. They also said that officers are transferred to different states then they can also learn about new things which they can later introduce in their home states to foster development.

While several opposition MPs said that there is still no normalcy in the region, BSP MP from Uttar Pradesh Malook Nagar said that the abrogation has helped the Gujjar and Bakarwal communities, as well as other nomadic communities, remain safer because they are at the most vulnerable when ceasefire violations occur. He also urged the government to help create a special economic zone in the region. He also said that these communities can contribute to the dairy industry. BJP MP from Ladakh Jamyang Tsering Namgyal also praised the BSP MP for his openness and criticised the Congress saying that they have a problem with national integration.

The NDA government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir by repealing Article 370 on August 5 in 2019.

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