Targeted killings in Kashmir | Other States

Will join duty only after Govt. gives written assurance: Kashmiri Pandits

Members of Kashmiri Pandit United Front raise slogans during a protest on the occasion of World Refugee Day, in Jammu, on June 20, 2022.

Members of Kashmiri Pandit United Front raise slogans during a protest on the occasion of World Refugee Day, in Jammu, on June 20, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Kashmiri Pandit employees, recruited under the Prime Minister’s special package, on Monday asked the J&K Lieutenant Governor’s (L-G) administration “to assure in writing that no Pandit will be killed in the future so that they could resume their duties”.

Thirty two days have passed, with no Pandit attending his or her office in the Valley after the spree of killings of minority members in May.

“Until the L-G’s government will not give in writing that no minority member will be killed, we will not resume offices. Kashmir is very unsafe and the brute forces are out to kill us for news. For them, we are just numbers. We don’t want to become news. We want our family and children to be secure,” Ajay, a Kashmiri Pandit employee and a member of the All Minority Employees’ Association Kashmir (AMEAK), said.

Scores of Kashmiri Pandits held a demonstration in Budgam’s Sheikhpora transit migrant colony. Over a month ago, an employee from the colony, Rahul Bhat, posted at the tehsil office in Beerwah, was shot dead by militants in his office. Since then, over 5,400 Pandit employees, who had returned under the PM’s special package to the Valley, have stopped visiting their offices in the Valley. Hundreds of employees have left for safer locations in Hindu-majority Jammu.

“M.L. Bindroo was shot dead in his shop, just metres away from a police station. Bhat too was killed in a secure office. Such killings have stopped because Pandits have either left the Valley or stopped visiting their offices. ”Ajay Kashmiri Pandit, member of All Minority Employees’ Association Kashmir (AMEAK)

Say govt. “unmoved by plight”

“M.L. Bindroo was shot dead in his shop, just metres away from a police station. Bhat too was killed in a secure office. Such killings have stopped because Pandits have either left the Valley or stopped visiting their offices. The situation is not conducive. We should be relocated till the administration controls the situation on ground,” Mr. Ajay said.

The Pandit employees, who have been recruited in the past 12 years in a bid to encourage migrant Pandit families to return to the Valley, termed the government move to post the employees in district headquarters, as “inadequate”. 

“Posting in district headquarters will not help. Even if I am posted three kilometres away from the camp, I cannot move around as a normal person. We are human beings. Life is not about going to the office and returning home,” Mr. Ajay added.

Sanjay, a Pandit employee from the Veesu migrant colony in south Kashmir, said the government seems to be “unmoved by our plight”.

“The L-G did hold a dialogue with us. But all the issues cannot be addressed in one sitting. We are not for any deadlock. We demand that we should be attached to the Relief Commissioner’s office, which is our parent organisation, till the situation improves,” Mr. Sanjay said.

Scores of Pandits also held demonstrations in Jammu and demanded that Pakistan should be declared as a terrorist state on the World Refugee Day.

“We have been left as refugees in our country. Till Pakistan will not be declared as a terrorist country, terrorism will not stop,” the protesters said.


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Printable version | Aug 10, 2022 4:53:24 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/will-join-duty-only-after-govt-gives-written-assurance-kashmiri-pandits/article65545921.ece