Leave Kashmir or get killed by fanatic minds: KPSS to Pandits

Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti (KPSS) said that 'no member of the community is safe in Kashmir'
Last Updated 16 August 2022, 12:52 IST

The latest targeted killing of a Kashmiri Pandit (KP) farmer by militants in south Kashmir’s Shopian district has forced a community organisation to once again call for mass migration from the Valley.

Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti (KPSS), an organisation that represents the Pandits living in the Valley, in a statement said that “no member of the community is safe in Kashmir.”

“For Kashmiri Pandits, only one option is left – leave Kashmir or get killed by religiously fanatic minds, who have support from the local population,” a letter signed by KPSS president, Sanjay K Tickoo, reads.

Tickoo, who represents the Pandit families that decided not to migrate in the 1990s, not only blamed the locals for being "hand in glove" with militants for the targeted killings, but also targeted the government for "failing to protect the minority community."

“With another deadly attack on Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir, the terrorists have made it clear they are going to kill all the Pandits in the Valley. Irony is local OGWs (over ground workers) work with them (militants) to kill their neighbours,” he said.

“Kashmir is a place where tourists are safe as no attacks were executed during Amarnath yatra but local non-Muslims, particularly Kashmiri Pandits are vulnerable. Judiciary and the government have failed miserably to protect Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley,” Tickoo alleged and appealed to the Pandits to leave Kashmir and not fall into the “trap of sugar coated” statements from Kashmiri society.

After August 5, 2019, when special status of J&K was abrogated, Kashmir witnessed intermittent killings of non-local labourers, drivers and members of the minority communities.

In May this year, a Pandit employee Rahul Bhat was killed by militants in his office in Chadoora area of Budgam district. This led to unending protests by Pandit employees at various places in the Valley to press for their demand of relocation.

Amid heightened militant activity which has seen a number of targeted assassinations in recent months, the latest killing is going to stir fresh protests among the community members.

Similar killings from late 1989 had forced thousands of Kashmiri Pandit families to run away to Jammu and other states of the country when the armed insurgency broke out in Kashmir. However, while the majority of Kashmiri-speaking Hindus - locally called Pandits fled from Kashmir in 1990, more than 800 families had stayed back then.

And with an aim to facilitate the return of migrant Pandits to the Valley, the government of India devised policies under the Prime Minister’s Packages in 2008 and 2015, under which special jobs were offered to them. According to official figures, nearly 4,000 migrants returned to Kashmir in the last few years to take up the PM package jobs.

(Published 16 August 2022, 12:01 IST)

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