Kashmiri Pandits on Monday said that they will not join their duties until the government provides a written assurance about safety of the minorities, The Hindu reported.
“Until the L-G’s [Manoj Sinha] government will not give in writing that no minority member will be killed, we will not resume offices,” said Ajay, a member of the All Minority Employees’ Association Kashmir. “Kashmir is very unsafe and the brute forces are out to kill us.”
Since January, at least 19 targeted killings, including those of police officials, teachers and village heads, have been reported in Kashmir. Out of these, 13 were civilians – six were Hindus and seven were Kashmiri Muslims. Many of them were shot point-blank in their homes or workplaces.
Kashmiri Pandits have been protesting since government employee Rahul Bhat was shot dead in his office in Budgam’s Chadoora area on May 12. They demand that they be relocated to Jammu for their safety.
About 4,000 Kashmiri Pandits are employed under the prime minister’s special rehabilitation package. The scheme was rolled out in 2008 for the Kashmiri migrants who left the Valley in the 1990s after the rise of militancy. The package envisaged 6,000 jobs to migrants and creating additional posts.
On Monday, the All Minority Employees’ Association Kashmir protested in Budgam’s Sheikhpora transit migrant colony on the occasion of World Refugee Day, PTI reported.
“On this international refugee day, we demand that our elected government relocate and attach us with the office of Relief Commissioner Jammu till the situation in Kashmir improves,” Sanjay Kaul, another member of the minority organisation said. “If it fails in ensuring our safety, which can only be achieved by relocating us, we will be forced to appeal for asylum.”
He further claimed that 70% of those employed under the prime minister’s special rehabilitation package have fled Kashmir since Bhat’s killing.
“The government claims on providing accommodation to minority employees are all lies,” Kaul said, according to PTI. “Only 1,200 employees have been provided accommodation while the rest are living in rented accommodations.”