Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday tweeted in support of Kashmiri Pandits returning to the Valley after the Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani issued a statement along similar lines. She said she shares the sentiment of Syed Ali Shah Geelani's group on Kashmiri Pandits' return to the Valley.
'Welcome Geelani Sahab's statement. It's a sentiment shared by Kashmiri Muslims who want their Pandit brethren to come back home. The vacuum created by their exodus can’t be filled unless they return with honour and dignity," she said in the tweet. However, the statement by the Hurriyat conference, which is hardly in consonance with the separatists' actions over the last several decades, had also attempted to lay conditions for the Pandits potential return by opposing a proposal to create separate gated communities for them.
She tweeted by sharing a news report that carried the All Parties Hurriyat Conference's statement on 'living together' with Kashmiri Pandits.
The report had said that the group had issued a statement on the debate about Pandits' return. The statement said: 'Let them come back, live as they previously used to, along with their Muslim brothers,' but adds that they oppose the move for Kashmiri Pandits to live in separate colonies saying that it 'will oppose any move to settle them in separate colonies as it negates the very fabric of our social, cultural and mutual bonds'. The group had commented on a recent statement by Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satyapal Malik where spoke about creating gated communities for Kashmiri Pandits. The Hurriyat also said that the Governor's statement was a compulsion and not a choice.
Earlier, NC Chief and MP Farooq Abdullah had also opposed the separate township suggestion, opining that Kashmiri Pandits should return to their old homes instead.
A Kashmiri Pandit, who had to leave the Valley after being shot at four times by unknown gunmen in 1990, returned to his homeland after 29 years and resumed his trade in Srinagar in May. Upon his return, he said, "There is no place like Kashmir". Roshan Lal Mawa got a rousing welcome by Kashmiri Muslim traders at Zainakadal a commercial hub. The traders had honoured him with 'dastarbandi' (tying of a white headgear).