The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Wednesday issued orders to stop the salaries of Kashmiri Pandit employees who have been holding protests seeking better security measures, PTI reported.

A group of Kashmiri Pandit employees recruited under the prime minister’s rehabilitation package from 2008 have been holding protests since May. They have been demanding that they be relocated to safer places outside the Valley.

The protests began after Rahul Bhat, a Kashmiri Pandit, was shot dead in his office in the Chadoora area of Budgam district on May 12.

Deputy Labour Commissioner Ahmad Hussain Bhat on Wednesday asked all employees to submit their leave accounts.

“Salary for the month of September 2022 should not be drawn in respect of those PM package employees, who have remained absent during the month of September,” he said in a directive to all assistant labour commissioners in the Valley.

The additional deputy commissioner in Anantnag also issued a similar order.

Protestors said that the orders were an attempt to arm-twist them to end their agitation, according to PTI.

“We honestly performed our duty for the last ten years in Kashmir until the selective killings of our employees, like Rahul Bhat, threatened the life and dignity of our community employees in the Valley,” a protestor told the news agency.

Another protestor said that providing security was the prime duty of the administration. “Why are you [administration] threatening us with these orders?” the protestor said. “We are not afraid of stopping of our salaries or anything else. If our lives are threatened, we will leave jobs.”

In 2008, the Union government rolled out a rehabilitation package for Kashmiri migrants who left the Valley in the 1990s after the rise of militancy. The package, among many things, envisaged giving 6,000 jobs to migrants and creating additional posts.

As of now, 5,928 persons have been employed under the package, according to The Indian Express.