Scores of Kashmiri Pandits stage a demonstration at the Jantar Mantar demanding security for the minority community in Jammu and Kashmir in the light of the recent targeted killings of civilians by terrorists in Srinagar.
“We demand security for the Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu and Kashmir. A few of us on behalf of the community will also submit a memorandum to Home Minister Amit Shah on this,” a person named Rakesh (40) said.
In what is being called selective and systematic killings, three Hindus and one Sikh teacher were gunned down by terrorists in Srinagar recently. Warnings were also issued against a few others. The killings created panic amongst the community members, due to which many people have reportedly fled Srinagar, drawing a comparison with the exodus of 1990.
“The killings are not new in Kashmir. Such incidents have occurred earlier as well. These terrorists enter universities and forcefully check everyone’s identity card. Those who are found to be non-Muslims are either taken away or killed,” another person who took part in the demonstration said on condition of anonymity.
A demonstrator named Aarti, a housewife who had fled from Kashmir in the 90s, questioned the BJP, saying, “In the past the party had assured the Kashmiri Pandits that it will fight for justice for us. But none of us have seen anything happening on the ground.”
The demonstrators carried out a candle light vigil holding placards. They also raised slogans against Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism in the Union Territory.
“Kashmiri Pandits who had fled their homes in 1990 were promised that they will soon be able to return to their homes. How can that happen when the ones living in Jammu and Kashmir are not safe. We appeal to the government to ensure their safety first,” said Shalini Chakko, a young Kashmiri Pandit born and brought up in Delhi.
An organisation of Kashmiri Pandits said on Saturday that the targeted killings of minorities in Jammu and Kashmir is part of a terror plan to prevent them from returning to the Valley.
Satish Mahaldar, chairman of reconciliation, return and rehabilitation of migrants, said in a statement on Saturday, “Recent killings of minority civilians in Kashmir is part of a well planned terror action plot, at the core of which is to drive out remaining minorities in the Valley and create fear psychosis so that no one can return.
“On 2nd October 2021, when the whole world was observing non-violence day on Gandhi Jayanti, a temple was desecrated in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district namely Bargheshekha Bhagwati Mata Temple in the Mattan area of the south Kashmir district.
“On October 5, Makhan Lal Bindroo was shot dead by terrorists as he sat in his shop in Srinagar’s Iqbal Park, an area dotted with police and paramilitary installations. He was in love with Kashmir.
“He never wanted to leave Kashmir even when we urged him to leave. He would often say: “I will give my life, but I won’t leave”.
“Bindroos were also among the Kashmiri Pandit families who had chosen to stay on in the Valley even after targeted killings had forced a mass migration of the community in 1990s.
“A terrorist group called The Resistance Front claimed responsibility for the killings of Bindroo and claimed he was “posing as a medical professional” and “conducting secret seminars” backed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh after serving Kashmiri people for nearly 32 years.
“Terrorists shot dead principal and teacher in a Srinagar school after separating Muslim and non-Muslim teachers.
“Another deceased was identified as Virendra Paswan, a native of Bhagalpur district of Bihar who was residing in Alamgari Bazar, Zadibal.
“He was a street vendor by profession who used to sell bhelpuri in Hawal area of Srinagar. The Resistance Front claimed responsibility for his killing also claiming that he was OWG for GoI agencies.
“We had already intimated the GoI several times through media and otherwise that the launch of Migrant distress sales portal will trigger an anti-minority feeling in some quarters, especially in the Land Mafia.
“Premature and triumphant claims about normalcy in Kashmir got exposed two months ago when the LG was informed in writing by Kashmiri Pandits that there are rumours that minorities in Kashmir will be targeted.
“Unfortunately, the LG’s office and security agencies ignored our inputs.
“Despite the inputs to security agencies, the UT govt and GoI failed to provide security/protection to minorities of Kashmir.
“Now it is easier to politically use the plight of minorities/Kashmiri Pandits of Kashmir”. (IANS)