Frightened Kashmiri Pandits Urge to Leave Valley Soon!

When Article 370 was abrogated in August 2019, Kashmiri Pandits were the loudest to cheer. Thereafter, the government took up measures to facilitate their rehabilitation and a film was also made highlighting their exodus in the 90s. However, Pandits remain at the center of attacks by militants, and their relocation is a distant dream.

On May 18, K Pandurang Pole instructed the heads of various government departments to ensure that employees from the Kashmiri Pandit community are not posted in “vulnerable areas” but given postings in district headquarters.

However, the two killings on Thursday increased the toll of minorities and outsiders killed in the valley to eight, amidst a spate of attacks by militants for the past three weeks. Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has been summoned to New Delhi for a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah Today.

The meeting takes place a day after two men, a Rajasthani bank manager and a brick kiln worker from Bihar were shot dead by suspected militants within 10 hours on Thursday. The incidents occurred two days after a woman teacher from Jammu was gunned down outside her school, in the latest wave of attacks targeting minorities and migrants in the Kashmir valley.

Besides targeted killings in the valley, operations against terrorists will be on the agenda of the meeting. In May this year, security forces conducted 14 successful operations in Jammu and Kashmir, in which 27 terrorists have been killed.

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Credits: FirstPost

On Thursday, Amit Shah held a preliminary meeting with NSA Ajit Doval, R&AW chief Samant Goel, Intelligence Bureau head Arvind Kumar, and other top officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs to review the security situation in the Union Territory among other issues.

This is the second major security meeting in Jammu and Kashmir after the Home Minister held a meeting to discuss security for the ‘Amarnath yatra’ which would begin later this month. Meanwhile, after days of protests over the administration’s “failure” to protect them from targeted attacks, Kashmiri Pandits employed in the valley under the Prime Minister’s rehabilitation package decided to call off their agitation on Thursday, expressing frustration over official “inaction”.

After the string of killings, many say they are actively exploring options outside the Valley.“We are all moving back to Jammu,” said Amit Koul, 40, a government employee at the forefront of the recent protests, and a resident of the Sheikhpora camp. “I have already left the camp with five of my colleagues,” he said.

In a written reply to a question in Parliament in 2021, the Ministry of Home Affairs had stated that out of 6,000 sanctioned posts, nearly 3,800 migrant candidates have returned to Kashmir over the past few years to take up government jobs under the PM package. After the abrogation of Article 370, 520 migrant candidates returned to Kashmir to take up such jobs, it said.

The recent killings and protests are telling a different story.

References: Firstpost, The Indian Express

Featured Image Source: Times of India

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