About 4,000 Kashmiri Pandits have threatened to leave Kashmir if the administration did not relocate them to safe places within 24 hours
The Jammu and Kashmir administration has confined Kashmiri Pandits to their transit camps after the community’s members threatened mass migration in the wake of targeted killings.
About 4,000 Kashmiri Pandits employed under a Prime Minister’s special package yesterday threatened to leave the Valley if the administration did not relocate them to safe places within 24 hours.
This came after a Hindu school teacher from Jammu, Rajni Bala, was killed by terrorists outside her school in Kulgam district yesterday. The attack came as the latest flashpoint in the Kashmiri Pandits’ protest for security since Rahul Bhat, a member of the Kashmiri Pandit community, was shot dead inside the magistrate’s office in Budgam last month.
Today, migrant Pandit transit camps were sealed off at several places. At Indra Nagar neighbourhood in Srinagar, where several employees from the community live, police blocked the entry points and no Kashmiri Pandit was allowed to come out.
At Vesu Pandit colony, one of the largest transit camps, hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits held a protest and raised slogans demanding justice and relocation from the Valley.
The main gates of several camps have been locked to ensure no Pandits are not allowed to come out.
Protesters yesterday said the community is tired of making appeals to the government for their safety.
“We should be relocated so that we can be saved. Our delegation had met the Lieutenant Governor (Manoj Sinha) and we had asked him to save us. We are asking for temporary relocation for two to three years till situation in the Valley returns to normal. It is the same time frame put by IGP Kashmir for making Kashmir terrorism-free,” a protester told NDTV.
The protesters, many of them women, raised slogans like “Administration hai hai” (down with administration), “minorities ko jeenay do’ (let the minorities live) and “We want justice”.
They have demanded that the government provide buses so that they can migrate to Jammu.
This morning, barricades have been put up near the transit camps and security personnel checked vehicles to ensure that no Kashmiri Pandit left the area.
The killings of Rahul Bhat and Rajni Bala are the latest in a series of targeted attacks on migrant workers and local minorities that Kashmir has been witnessing since last year.
In October, seven civilians were killed in five days — among them a Kashmiri Pandit, a Sikh and two non-local Hindus.
Shortly after, Sheikhpora — home to the minority Kashmiri Pandit community — saw most families moving out.
Kashmiri Pandits have slammed the government over the killings, saying they have been left to die.