By K.N. Pandita
On 25 April 2008, Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh opened the engineering marvel of a cantilever bridge over the furious Chenab at Akhnoor. It connects Jammu with sensitive Rajouri and Poonch regions. From strategic and commercial point of view this is a landmark achievement.
The opening ceremony of the bridge will be remembered in history of the state and the nation for yet another landmark achievement. It is prime minister’s bold and open statement of his government’s decisive policy of rehabilitating more than fifty thousand internally displaced Kashmiri Hindu families back in the valley.
For the first time ever since militancy erupted in the valley in 1990, forcing the minority and the nationalists to leave their home and hearth, the Prime Minister of India has announced a comprehensive package for their return and rehabilitation. It has set at rest all ambiguities and speculations, fears and apprehensions, hopes and frustration that bedeviled the victims for two decades in the past.
Cynics may label PM’s announcement as election stunt. Let us not forget that the statement has come from the Prime Minister of India made in a huge public rally and conspicuously carried by international media in headlines.