Surat: Kashmiri Pandits should be settled in Kashmir Valley and given their homes, Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Sunday said.
Naqvi, while addressing a gathering at a function 'Chain of Unity' here, backed Centre's plan for creating composite townships for 62,000 displaced Kashmiri Pandit families who had left the state at the onset of militancy in late 1980s.
"Those people were displaced and the wounds of losing ones home cannot be healed easily. For many years, they remained homeless. They should be given their homes and settled in their homeland. Their wounds should be healed and this thing must be understood and realised," Naqvi said.
The issue of separate townships for Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley is being opposed by separatists, who claim that it will divide the people and pose security risks.
Meanwhile, Naqvi said the Muslim community wants a better future with social and economic security for which the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government is committed for.
He accused the previous UPA government of using Muslims as a vote bank.
"Muslim community was left behind on development path as the Congress and other so-called secular political parties deliberately exploited them and used it as vote bank. The situation has totally been changed under the NDA government," he added.
He also defended the Land Acquisition Bill saying it is pro-farmer and supports the cause to develop the country.
When asked on Union Minister Nitin Gadkari's recent comment that farmers should stop relying on God or government, Naqvi said, "He was referring about recent untimely rains and hailstorm in Maharashtra and said it occurred due to nature."
To a query on media reports alleging that the land of the residence of a leading corporate house's honcho belongs to Waqf Board, Naqvi said that a Maharashtra government report also pointed out that the property belonged to Waqf board.
"I have read about this controversy in newspapers. There was probe conducted in it for many times also. The Maharashtra government has also set up a committee on this issue, which stated that the property belongs to Waqf board. The matter is in the court and it will decide," said Naqvi.
Meanwhile, taking a dig at opposition Congress, he said both the party and their leaders are not visible on the ground, referring to the long sabbatical of AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi.
"News of their leader going 'missing' went on air. Then some news of his sudden appearance comes. Then about search of their leader's whereabouts. Now, news will come that Rahul baba appears. But, anyway, it is his and party's choice if he wants to remain in exile," said Naqvi.