A high-level meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh Thursday discussed various issues pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir including rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandit migrants, return of civilian land by the army and the situation along the line of control.
Meeting was attended among others by Defence Minister Manohar Parikar, state Governor N. N.Vohra and National Security Advisor Ajit K Doval. According to official sources, the issue of surrender of civilian land being used by the army was discussed at the meeting and it was decided that Chief Secretary will hold a meeting with Defence Ministry officials to identify those and work out a proposal.
The army had in principle agreed during the tenure of Omar Abdullah government to hand over the 139-acre ‘Tattoo ground’ to the state government but a final decision had to be taken by the Defence Ministry. Now, according to the sources, the army has been pressing for regularization of a land in picturesque Gulmarg in return for the ‘Tattoo ground’.
The rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley and identifying land for their resettlement also came up for discussion. There are about 62,000 registered Kashmiri migrant families in the country who left the state after the onset of militancy in the 1990s. About 40,000 registered families stay in Jammu, while another 20,000 in the national capital. The remaining 2,000 families are settled in other parts of the country.
The high-level meeting also took stock of the situation prevailing along the International Border and Line of Control, amidst reports of infiltration attempts from across the border with the onset of summer, the sources said. The meeting also reviewed the action taken to maintain security in the Valley in the wake of recent unrest following the killing of four persons in action by security forces against violent protesters enraged over alleged molestation of a girl.
In a statement, the Home Ministry said the meeting was called to review the developmental projects and other related issues regarding the state. It was decided that the matter relating to surrender of civilian land not required for operational purposes by the army would be expedited. The army has restructured its requirements for land which it would make available to the state government for development projects, the statement said.