Kashmiri Pandit leaders say lower rhetoric, delink rehab, jobs

The killing of Rahul Bhat, a Revenue Department worker in Kashmir’s Chandoora space of Budgam district, Thursday has now not simplest come as a setback to the Centre and Union Territory executive’s plans for go back and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits within the Valley, but in addition their oft-repeated declare of advanced scenario there.

Nearly a dozen Kashmiri Pandits, together with 3 executive staff, had been killed by way of militants because the Central executive in August 2019 moved to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories and abrogated Article 370, which assured particular standing to the erstwhile state.

Even migrant Pandits characteristic the spate of centered killings to the rhetoric created by way of mainstream politicians, together with the BJP. A pace-setter of the Pandit group, King C Bharti, primarily based in Jammu however energetic within the Valley, stated: “Though none of them has anything to do with politics, the rhetoric by some, especially pro-government politicians, that they have broken the backbone of militancy makes them sacrificial goats. Militants target them in order to make their presence felt.”

Another Kashmiri Pandit chief stated that the shrill rhetoric additionally reasons the bulk Muslim inhabitants within the Valley to rally, mentioning “atrocities” in opposition to the group in Kashmir and somewhere else, leaving minorities much more insecure.

Around 6,000 migrant Kashmiri Pandits are estimated to be posted elsewhere within the Valley underneath a 2008 Prime Minister activity package deal, a lot of them dwelling there with their households. Bhat’s killing has reignited questions in regards to the “futility” of those low-paying, high-risk jobs.

Kashmiri Pandits protest the hot killings within the Valley. (Express Photo by way of Shuaib Masoodi)

“We are being posted there within the identify of jobs, simplest to get killed, and that too for peanuts,’’ stated a Pandit executive worker, who needed to not be named.

He stated the ones appointed as a part of the PM’s package deal weren’t even regarded as at par with the ones picked by means of the UT’s carrier variety board and, therefore, were given a consolidated wage of simplest Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000 for the primary two years.

In case they die in a militant assault, regulations don’t even supply for a central authority activity to subsequent of relatives as repayment. Except for Deepak Chand, whose subsequent of relatives was once supplied a task final 12 months, others killed have to this point were given simply Rs 1 lakh as ex-gratia, a central authority respectable belonging to the migrant group stated. On Friday, the federal government introduced a central authority activity for Bhat’s spouse.

Now the federal government has confident that they are going to supply employment to the following of relatives of the deceased, stated Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner Ashok Pandita, the nodal company having a look after the problems of migrant Kashmiri Pandits. “Otherwise, provisions of SRO 43 which provide for employment to the next of kin of an employee killed on duty do not apply, as the migrant employees are appointed under the PM package against supernumerary posts which end with one’s death,” he stated.

Police disperse protesters. (Express Photo by way of Shuaib Masoodi)

With lots of the migrant Pandit staff posted within the Valley dwelling in non-public rented lodging, many say a minimum of Rs 8,000 per 30 days is going simply into hire. Besides, on the time of appointment, they’ve to present an endeavor that they are going to now not search switch to another position with the exception of the Valley.

“If the government is so serious about our welfare, it should delink the employment package from the issue of our return and rehabilitation in the Valley,” a Kashmiri Pandit stated. “The UT government keeps posting us to vulnerable places, despite requests… The administration’s attitude, coupled with the killings, has brought us to a point where we are thinking of returning to Jammu.”

National Conference provincial president Rattan Lal Gupta accused the BJP of exploiting Kashmiri Pandits for political pursuits. “During the last eight years, the party has been in power both at the Centre and in J&K, but what has it done for the migrant community, except make false promises?” he requested, including that the federal government must have supplied safety to Kashmiri Pandits dwelling within the Valley.

Pradesh Youth Congress spokesperson Dr Jahanzaib Sirwal puzzled the federal government’s claims of normalcy. “Had there been normalcy, there would have been no need for increased presence of troops in the Valley,” he stated. “If a Pandit was killed in the Valley yesterday, a Muslim policeman died today,” Sirwal stated, including that the federal government had failed to offer safety to anyone and must center of attention on governance slightly than “a cosmetic normalcy”.

After a central authority schoolteacher, Deepak Chand, was once killed in October 2021, numerous migrant staff had if truth be told returned from the Valley to Jammu. Later, many rejoined accountability at the promise of complete safety.

Chand, despite the fact that now not a Pandit, was once a migrant. The different Pandits killed had been a outstanding businessman, store staff and elected panchs and sarpanchs, who had long past to the Valley to contest rural native frame polls, leaving their households in Jammu.

Zafar Choudhary, a famous journalist and political analyst, stated the bottom scenario in Kashmir is complicated and the federal government must open its eyes to this. Claims of peace in keeping with one just right vacationer season had been out of place and plenty of extra components would resolve this, he stated.

A Kashmiri Pandit chief stated the major want was once for re-establishment of a sense of brotherhood between the bulk and minority communities within the Valley. However, each nonetheless have a look at each and every different with suspicion. The chief was hoping that the federal government would repair duty and make sure some heads roll to revive self assurance amongst Kashmiri Pandit staff.

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