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56 Pandit teachers posted to less vulnerable areas in Srinagar

Kashmiri Pandit employees shout slogans during a protest march over the killing of Rahul Bhat and other demands, at Lal Chowk in Srinagar, on May 21, 2022..

Kashmiri Pandit employees shout slogans during a protest march over the killing of Rahul Bhat and other demands, at Lal Chowk in Srinagar, on May 21, 2022.. | Photo Credit: PTI

Ten days after Rahul Bhat, a Kashmiri Pandit, was killed in his office by militants, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Saturday transferred 56 Pandit employees to safer educational institutes in Srinagar.

An official said the transfers ensured that the working Pandit couples were either posted in one educational institute or nearby to each other. Most of the teachers working in volatile parts of the old city have been transferred to uptown localities.

All these teachers were recruited under the Prime Minister’s Return and Rehabilitation scheme announced by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2008 for migrant Kashmiri Pandits who left the Valley in 1990s. A total of 3,841 Pandit employees took up jobs under the scheme, which is mandated to recruit 6,000 educated migrants to bring their families to the Valley. Besides the scheme, hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits have opted for government jobs in the Valley in the past few years. 

The administration has decided to transfer all Kashmiri Pandits working in vulnerable areas of 10 districts of the Valley. Most of these employees will be shifted to secure district headquarters, following the killing of Bhat in his office chair at a tehsil office in Budgam’s Chadoora area on May 12.

The Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti, an organisation of Kashmiri Pandits who stayed back in the Valley, said the family of Bhat had turned down the Lieutenant Governor’s offer of a ‘meager’ sum of ₹ 5 lakh as compensation and a class four job for the victim’s wife.

Street march in Srinagar

Scores of Pandits took out a street march in Srinagar to press for the relocation of Pandit employees to the Jammu division from the volatile Kashmir division. Seeking justice for Bhat, hundreds of protesters assembled at the Lal Chowk and raised anti-administration slogans.

“Our only demand is relocation [to Jammu]. This is the only solution because there is no safety and security. Even the members of the majority community don’t feel safe. Kids and women go out. We don’t want to live in Kashmir,” a protester said.

Another protester said the brazenness with which a Pandit employee was singled out in his office was “worrisome for the Pandit employees working here”. 

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Printable version | May 21, 2022 7:22:23 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/56-pandit-teachers-posted-to-less-vulnerable-areas-in-srinagar/article65442722.ece