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Kashmiri Pandit families allotted homes

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
March 04, 2008 20:23 IST
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The Jammu and Kashmir government has at long last made a beginning to rehabilitate the displaced Kashmiri Pandit families in the Valley.

The beginning was made on Monday by allotting two room flats to 26 such families in the exclusive colony coming up for the Pandits in the highlands of Sheikhpora in the central Kashmir Budgam district.

The colony on completion will accommodate 200 Pandit families.

The occasion was overwhelmingly festive when the Pandit familie,s who lived in a secured cluster in Budgam town, moved into the newly built colony along with their belongings on Monday.

The families had been earlier collected from different areas of the district following the Sangrampora carnage. Seven Pandits were gunned down by militants in the Sangrampora village on March 22, 1997.

The deputy commissioner of Budgam handed over the keys of the flats to the families.

The colony, a brain child of former chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, is likely to be completed this year.

Successive governments have been making efforts to bring the migrant Kashmiri Pandit population back to the Valley, but their efforts met limited success.

Of late, the hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani appealed to the Pandits to return back to their homes in Kashmir.

Adequate security arrangements have been made in and around the colony to instill confidence among the Pandits.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar