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On PM Modi's visit, Kashmiri Pandits sit on dharna demanding panel to probe exodus

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, flanked by Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha (right) and Union Minister Jitendra Singh waves at a function to commemorate the annual Panchayati Raj Day in Palli village near Jammu on April 24, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

Demanding that a commission be setup to investigate the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley, members of the community sat on dharnas on Sunday to draw the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the Union Territory.

Kashmiri Pandit Volunteers (KPV), led by Sandeep Mawa, have been sitting on a fast-unto-death for the past four days in Srinagar pressing for their demand.

Amid tight security arrangements, PM Modi inaugurated some and laid the foundation for other multiple development initiatives worth around Rs 20,000 crore in Jammu and Kashmir, including the opening of the Banihal-Qazigund road tunnel to establish an all-weather connectivity between the two regions.

Another group of KPV members, led by Vikram Kaul, sat on a dharna near the Press Club in Jammu, prompting the police to vacate them in wake of Mr. Modi’s visit to the region.

At least 200 more members of the KPV sat on a dharna at Muthi Ghat here demanding a probe, also into the killings and destruction of temples during the emergence of terrorism in Kashmir in 1990s.

Mr. Mawa has threatened to set himself on fire if his demands are not fulfilled in the next few days.

He has also been demanding stern action against Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate, who had allegedly admitted to have killed dozens of Pandits during the 90s.

The Kashmiri Pandits also said they wanted an administration devoid of “tainted, anti-national and corrupt” bureaucrats.

Divisional commissioner of Kashmir province Pandurang K. Pole visited Mr. Mawa and asked him to end his fast.

“We, the displaced Kashmiri Pandits, have come in his (Mr. Mawa’s) support and demand that these three demands be conceded, and Dr Sandeep Mawa be saved from self immolation. We stand by him,” Mr. Kaul, who led the dharna in Jammu, said.

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Printable version | Apr 24, 2022 6:54:47 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/on-pm-modis-visit-kashmiri-pandits-sit-on-dharna-demanding-panel-to-probe-exodus/article65351188.ece