Kashmiri Pandits’ body demands ‘One Place Settlement’ for rehabilitation

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The Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora (GKPD) said on Monday that it is planning to approach the Centre regarding the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits, who were forced to leave their homeland in the wake of attacks on them in the early 90s.

The GKPD has come up with the proposal amid the nationwide attention the displaced community has been receiving of late following the release of ‘The Kashmir Files’, a film by Vivek Agnihotri which highlights the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits.

At a press conference held here on Monday, Utpal Kaul, the co-ordinator of GKPD in India, said: “We request the government to look into our demand of ‘One Place Settlement’. We would like have a city of our own, and for that, we have prepared a document. We are also in talks with the town planners regarding this. In the last two years, I have met many people and gathered information on how Kashmiri Hindus can go back.”

He said there are 10 lakh Kashmiri Pandits who “want to go back to Kashmir. We know how we will make Kashmir a paradise”.

Talking about the proposed city, Kaul said discussions were also held on setting up universities, colleges and houses.

“The government and all political parties say that now everything will be fine, you all will go to your home. But our people no longer have homes. 20,000 houses were burnt… some houses have been occupied. We don’t even have the addresses of the houses,” he said.

Elaborating further, Surinder Kaul, co-founder of GKPD, said that after two years of hard work, an expert task force of town planning has prepared this document.

“It was discussed in our society, everyone kept their point of view as to what should happen. Now we will put the document before the government,” he said.

The GKPD also said true incidents have been shown in ‘The Kashmir Files’.

“The film is not promoting hatred… and doing that is not its purpose. Only 5 per cent of what has happened to us is shown in the film,” Surinder Kaul said, while expressing his gratitude for the love and warmth the film has received from all over the country.

“Also, a judicial commission should be formed to bring justice to the people who died and the guilty should be punished,” he said.

It was also shared by the organisation that about 750 victims were introduced to filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri. “We requested him to make this film,” he added.

Regarding the funding for the film, the GKPD said it has provided only logistic support.

“We have nothing to do with any wing, we are not associated with any party,” Surinder Kaul said.

He added that the film should not be viewed from a Hindu-Muslim perspective.

“The film is not about Hindu-Muslim polarisation. We are not against any society. This movie shows the failure of the system. The truth related to history can be painful… But it does not mean that you should stop teaching history,” he said.

The organisation also conveyed its thanks to the Chief Ministers of many states for making the film tax-free.

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