The Centre on Wednesday said that militant attacks in Jammu and Kashmir have substantially declined since August 5, 2019. No Kashmiri Pandit has migrated out of the Valley over the last three years, it alleged.
The erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was split into two Union Territories after the Centre scrapped its special status under Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5, 2019.
“The Government has a policy of zero tolerance against terrorism and the security situation has improved significantly in Jammu and Kashmir,” Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said. “There has been a substantial decline in terrorist attacks from 417 in 2018 to 229 in 2021.”
The data was provided by Rai in response to senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh’s question in Rajya Sabha.
Rai told the House that 128 security forces personnel and 118 civilians have been killed by militants in Jammu and Kashmir between August 5, 2019, and July 9, 2022.
“Out of 118 civilians killed, 5 were Kashmiri Pandits and 16 belonged to other Hindu/Sikh communities,” he told the House. “No Pilgrim has been killed during this period.”
On being asked about how many Kashmiri Pandits have left the Valley since 2019, Rai said no member of the community had migrated over three years.
Centre’s claim, however, contrasts reports of Kashmir Pandits fleeing the Valley after government employee Rahul Bhat was shot dead in his office in Budgam’s Chadoora area on May 12.
According to Kashmiri Pandit representatives from the camps, about 4,000 left, however, other reports suggested the figure could be in the hundreds.
Bhat’s killing had set off a wave of protests among Kashmiri Pandits who had taken government jobs and were living in migrant camps. Many of them demanded that their relatives in Kashmir be relocated to Jammu for their safety.
On June 5, owing to the pressure, the Kashmir administration transferred 177 Kashmiri Pandit government school teachers to “safer places” within the Valley.
Several Kashmiri leaders have said that targeted killings have exposed the Centre’s claims that normalcy prevails in the Union Territory.
Since January, at least 20 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 have been shot point-blank in their homes or workplaces.