Sonia assures better living condition to Hindu migrants

April 12th, 2008 - 2:09 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

Jammu, April 12 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi Saturday assured full help to Hindu migrants and promised their living conditions would be bettered till they return to their homes in the Kashmir valley. Gandhi, chairperson of the ruling coalition United Progressive Alliance (UPA), was interacting with the migrants living in the newly constructed satellite township here in the suburbs of Jammu.

She flew in straight to this township after her arrival at the technical airport in a special aircraft of the home ministry at around 11 a.m.

Accompanied by Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Congress president went around the flats in the township and spoke to residents, asking them about their living conditions.

Before leaving the township, Gandhi planted a Chinar sapling in the premises. The Chinar tree - resembling the maple - is associated with Kashmiri heritage.

She was at the township for a little over 20 minutes. There was tight security and media persons had tough time reaching the township, which had been converted into a garrison.

This was her first visit to any of the Kashmiri Pandit migrants’ colony, though Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had visited some of the migrant camps in November 2004.

About 350,000 Kashmiri Hindus had fled the valley in 1990 following a string of killings of the community members by the militants, which was a microscopic minority constituting less than seven percent of the population of the Kashmir Valley.

The migrants continue to live in the government-provided accommodation and have been getting relief of Rs.3,000 per month besides free ration .

Most of them believed that the situation in the valley was not conducive for their return to the Valley.

Sonia Gandhi was scheduled to address a public meeting of Congress women workers at Parade Ground in Jammu before her return to New Delhi.

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