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Targeted killings | Top officials urge Kashmiri Pandits to stay put

People from the Kashmiri Pandit community interact with security personnel standing guard outside their transit camp, after police stopped their protest march against the killing of government employee Rahul Bhat towards Srinagar, at Sheikhpora. File

People from the Kashmiri Pandit community interact with security personnel standing guard outside their transit camp, after police stopped their protest march against the killing of government employee Rahul Bhat towards Srinagar, at Sheikhpora. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Top J&K officials, including Kashmir’s Divisional Commissioner and its Inspector General of Police (IGP), on Tuesday visited several transit camps of Kashmiri Pandits and advised the fear-struck community against migration from the Valley, in the wake of the killing of the Pandit employee, Rahul Bhat, on May 12.

Interacting with protesting Pandits at the Sheikhpora transit camp in Budgam, IGP Vijay Kumar said, “If you (Pandits) fear, this is what Pakistan wants. You will play into the hands of Pakistan and militants, if you fear. They too want you to migrate (from the Valley).”

He assured of additional measures to provide security to the Pandits staying in the Valley and maintained that the militancy was on its last legs.

IGP Kumar, assuring the fear-struck Pandit community, said: “There is a lot of flickering when a candle is about to extinguish. It’s true of militancy too in Kashmir. Within one year, fear will be completely eliminated and the militant numbers will be reduced to below 50.”

He also interacted with Pandits living at the transit camps in south Kashmir’s Kulgam and Anantnag and pacified the protesting Pandits.

During his visit to the Vessu camp in Kulgam, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir P. K. Pole assured to address services-related issues within a week’s time.

The administration is working on fresh postings for Pandits to the district headquarters following the recent attack, which sparked Valley-wide protests from the fear-stricken community.

“Militants have lost their strength to target big security installations. They are now attacking soft targets, including unarmed policemen who visit homes on leave. These killings are meant to create fear psychosis among the minorities. I can tell you that the security environment in Kashmir is not what it was some 10 years ago,” Mr. Pole said.

Demand for relocation

However, Kashmiri Pandits are not budging on their demands on relocation to safe destinations and dropping of clauses in the Prime Minister Rehabilitation Package that bar employees’ transfer outside the Valley.

“We demand employees should be relocated to the Jammu division till the situation improves in the Valley. The clauses on barring transfers under the Prime Minister’s Rehabilitation Package should be declared void ab initio,” the protesting Pandits said, both in Sheikhpora and Vessu camps.

In the wake of a spree of killings of Hindus and non-labourers by militants in October and September last year, Pandit employees alleged they were not allowed to leave their stations and were forced to resume duties despite the threat to their lives


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Printable version | May 25, 2022 8:23:32 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/if-you-fear-and-leave-valley-you-are-playing-into-the-hands-of-pakistan-igp-warns-kashmiri-pandits/article65423594.ece