Hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits held a protest in Jammu on Saturday against a delay in the payment of their monthly relief, PTI reported, citing police officials. The protestors tried to block the Jammu-Srinagar national highway but were stopped by the police.
In the early 1990s when militancy erupted in Jammu and Kashmir, it led to a massive exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley to Jammu. Most estimates say that 76,000 families left Kashmir then.
In 1990, the Jammu and Kashmir government launched a policy to provide relief in the form of cash and free ration to Kashmiri Pandits. The relief amount has been raised over time. Currently, each family receives Rs 13,000 every month.
The amount is now provided by the Centre as Jammu and Kashmir became a Union Territory after the its special status under Article 370 of the Constitution was abrogated on August 5, 2019.
On Saturday, Kashmiri Pandits living in the Jagti migrant camp, on the outskirts of Jammu, shouted slogans demanding immediate release of relief payment for the month of August and marched towards the Jammu-Srinagar highway, police officials said.
“The relief for the month of August was not released by the relief commission till date, causing hardships to the displaced community,” a spokesperson of the Kashmiri Pandit Relief Holders Association told PTI.
He added this was the first time in the past three decades that there was a delay in the release of the monthly relief. The spokesperson urged Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to look into the matter.