Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today said there was a need to instill confidence among Kashmiri Pandits for their permanent return to the Valley and the present situation was not such that they could live in their native places.
“I will only appeal to Kashmiri Pandits that they should trust us and pray. We are trying to create peace here, Kashmir is incomplete without Kashmiri Pandits,” Mehbooba told reporters here after paying obeisance at Mata Kheer Bhawani temple situated around 25 km from Srinagar.
She said there was a need to infuse confidence among the community before they could go back to their native places.
“To infuse confidence among them, first they will be brought to transit camps, transit communities, where our Muslim migrants will also live with them. Once their confidence grows, then they can live wherever they want,” the chief minister said.
She said the present situation was not such that Pandits could live in their native places and referred to last night’s stone pelting incident in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district where a police post was pelted with stones. A vehicle carrying Kashmiri Pandits for the festival at Kheer Bhawani temple got caught in it.
“Whoever is saying this (that Pandits be settled in their native places) be it National Conference, Congress or other parties, they should think if the situation is such right now can Kashmiri Pandits live there after yesterday’s incident,” Mehbooba said.
She said children belonging to poor families were being used by some people in Kashmir for stone pelting and it was time for the people of Kashmir to ponder upon that.
“There are some elements in Kashmir who are anti-social and are using poor people for stone-pelting. The poor children they are using will face stigma from society forever,” she said.
The chief minister said they will be called stone pelters even if they got educated and achieved something in life.
She also expressed satisfaction over a large number of devotees visiting the Kheer Bhawani temple this year.
“I feel that by coming here in such large numbers and meeting people here, the confidence will increase and slowly a time will come that these people will return to live here,” she said.
Invoking the ethos of ‘Kashmiriyat’, the Chief Minister also praised local Muslims for participating in the festival at the temple, which is thronged by Kashmiri Pandits.