14 Kashmiri Pandits, Hindus killed after dilution of Article 370 , Rajya Sabha told

Since 2017, number of minorities killed in Valley stood at 34: Ministry of Home Affairs

April 06, 2022 07:00 pm | Updated 07:00 pm IST - New Delhi:

The killings were reported from Anantnag, Srinagar, Pulwama and Kulgam districts in the Kashmir Valley. File

The killings were reported from Anantnag, Srinagar, Pulwama and Kulgam districts in the Kashmir Valley. File | Photo Credit: PTI

As many as 14 Kashmiri Pandits and Hindus were killed in Kashmir Valley after Article 370 was read down by Parliament in August 2019, according to data presented by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. Since 2017, the number of minorities killed in the Valley in terrorist related incidents stood at 34.

Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai responding to a question by Vishambhar Prasad Nishad (SP), Chhaya Verma (Congress) and Ram Nath Thakur (JD–U), said in a written reply that “after the repeal of Article 370, about 2,105 migrants have returned back to Kashmir Valley for taking up the jobs provided under Prime Minister’s Development Package”.

The number of Kashmiri Pandits and other Hindus killed by the terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir from August 5, 2019 to March 24,2022 stood at 14, the reply said. The killings were reported from Anantnag, Srinagar, Pulwama and Kulgam districts in the Valley. In 2017, 11 such killings were reported.

“The government has taken several measures to ensure the safety of the minorities in the Valley. These include a robust security and intelligence grid, group security in the form of static guards, day and night area domination, round–the–clock checking at nakas, patrolling in the areas where the minorities reside besides proactive operations against terrorists,” the reply said.

In another reply, Mr. Rai said the cross–border infiltration in J&K has decreased significantly since 2018 and the “net infiltration” was down to 34 in 2021. The infiltrations reported in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 stood at 136, 143, 138 and 51.

Mr. Rai said the government has a policy of zero tolerance against terrorism and there has been substantial decline in terrorist attacks from 417 in 2018 to 255 in 2019, 244 in 2020 and 229 in 2021.

To a question by BJP’s Rakesh Sinha on the number of properties restored to Kashmiri Hindus and the number of temples desecrated in the 1980s that were restored post–2019, Mr. Rai said, “District Magistrates in J&K are the custodians of the property belonging to Kashmiri migrants. A portal was started in September 2021 to help in restoring the property of Kashmiri migrants whose properties were snatched or forcefully taken away. If their complaints are genuine, action will be taken. So far, 610 properties have been restored to the rightful claimants.”

To a question by Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi on why Kashmiri Pandits were still referred as “Kashmiri migrants” and when will they get rid of this label in official documents, Mr. Rai said, “I would like to further amend it and refer them as Hindu Kashmiri Pandits. Those who want to go back, we are providing jobs to them.”

In another reply, the Minister said, “Under Prime Minister’s Development Package, 2015 (PMDP-2015), 3,000 State government jobs for Kashmiri migrants have been created. The selection process for appointment of 2,828 migrants has been completed, out of which 1,913 migrants have been appointed and verification of documents in respect of the remaining 915 migrants has been taken up.”

It said the construction of transit accommodations under the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Package, 2008 (PMRP–2008) is complete, while work is being completed in respect of accommodations approved under the PMDP-2015. “Construction of 1,025 units has been completed/substantially completed, 1,488 units are at different stages of completion and work on the remaining units has been taken up,” the reply said.

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