Kashmiri Pandit employees, recruited under the prime minister’s special rehabilitation package, on Tuesday threatened to leave the Valley if the Jammu and Kashmir administration did not to relocate them to safe places within 24 hours, PTI reported.
About 4,000 Kashmiri Pandits are employed under the prime minister’s package. Protests calling for relocation had gained momentum after Rahul Bhat, a Kashmiri Pandit, was shot dead in his office in the Chadoora area of Budgam district on May 12.
The killing of a Hindu teacher from Jammu’s Samba district, posted in Kashmir’s Kulgam, outside her school on Tuesday has sparked fresh fear among the employees.
Targeted killings have led to the death of seven civilians this month in the Valley. Since January, at least 16 targeted killings, including those of police officials, teachers and village heads, have been reported, according to The Indian Express.
On Tuesday, hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits blocked highways in Kulgam and Srinagar and demanded to be relocated from the Valley.
“We have decided that if the government does not take any concrete steps for us within 24 hours, there will be mass migration again,” one of the protestors told PTI.
The protestor said that a delegation of Kashmiri Pandits had earlier met Lieutenant Governor Manoj Singh and sought his help for relocation.
“We are asking for temporary relocation for two to three years till situation in the Valley returns to normal,” the protestor added. “It is the same time frame put by IGP [Inspector General of Police] Kashmir for making Kashmir militancy free.”
Kashmiri Pandits shouted slogans such as “only solution, relocation”, “down with administration”, “let the minorities live” and “we want justice” while marching on the roads in the Valley.
Protests continue for second straight day
Protests also continued for the second day on Wednesday, with angry residents seeking action against officers responsible for failing to transfer the teacher to a safe location. There was a complete shutdown in Samba district, according to PTI.
The protestors shouted slogans against the lieutenant governor for failing to protect the Hindus working in government offices in the Valley and burnt an effigy.
On Wednesday, migrant camps were sealed off at several locations after Kashmiri Pandits threatened to migrate en masse, NDTV reported. Gates of several camps have been locked to stop them from coming out.
One of the protestors told The New Indian Express that only 1,250 Kashmiri Pandit employee families live in transit camps, while 4,000 of them live in rented accommodation.
“Providing security to all is nearly impossible,” he said. “The only solution is our mass migration.”