New Delhi: The violent protests in the Kashmir Valley following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani have resulted in in continuous curfew and unease in the restive region. Reports of several killed and injured have left the entire nation in a state of shock over the manner in which things unfolded.
Amid the discourse with arguments contesting nationalism and human rights, reports of mob attacks on Kashmiri Pandits living in transit camps provided by the state government have drawn immense criticism from the community, who said the attacks underlined the intentions of the separatist parties towards the Hindu minorities in the state.
Now, reports suggest that violence targetting Hindus in the Valley has led to Kashmiri Pandits leaving the Valley, with many fearing that the situation could lead to another scenario of mass migration by Kashmiri Pandits similar to the one around three decades ago.
In what signifies the level of unrest that Hindus face in Kashmir today, a report in Hindi daily ‘Hindustan’ claims that over 300 people have left the Valley following the violence over Wani’s killing. More Kashmiri Pandits are suspected to migrate, the report said.
People who have fled following fresh violence that rocked different areas of the Valley have now camped near the DC office in Jammu. According to Vijay Tikoo, associated with Panun Kashmir, an organization of displaced Kashmiri Pandits, they now have asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to ensure the safety and security of around 3,500 Kashmiri Pandits residing in the Valley.
Failure by the government in this regard could lead to a situation similar to the one in 1990 where there was a heavy exodus of Hindus from the Kashmir Valley, the report quoted Tikoo as saying. Close to 300 Kashmiri Pandits who were rehabilitated by the government, have reached Jammu. These people were provided with a government job and a place to stay in transit camps.
According to Tikoo, two transit camps of Kashmiri Panditsin Pulwama district have been attacked by angry mobs and even police and paramilitary forces are helpless in front of them. Rejecting the attacks as those by militants, Tikoo points to such specific targeting of Kashmiri Pandits by mobs after a long time.
Various representative organisations have demanded additional security for the employees, especially living at transit camps in the Valley, which have been facing repeated stone-throwing by mobs. Youth All India Kashmiri Samaj (YAIKS) has termed the situation grim and an attempt to force another exodus. “Hundreds of youths returned to the Valley with a hope that they can again live there but recent targeted attacks have dashed every effort in this direction,” said RK Bhat, president, YAIKS.
Employees appointed under Prime Minister’s Employment Package (PMEP) in the Valley have also come out strongly against what they termed as repeated incidents of stone-throwing at migrant transit camps. They have now urged the Centre and state governments to ensure safety of all Kashmiri Pandits working across the Valley.
“If no measures are taken in this regard, we would be forced to quit our jobs,” one Rubin Saproo told The Tribune.
As per state government figures released in 2016, 18,732 migrant families — 64,216 souls from Kashmir and 1,054 families —5180 souls— were getting relief from the government.
Meanwhile, there seems to have been no let-up in the violence in Kashmir as one more protester was killed on Sunday, taking the death toll to 43 in nine days of unrelenting clashes.