Government employees, including those from the Kashmiri Pandit community, expressed dismay at Prime Minister Narendra Modi “not speaking about them” and said they were the “real victims” of the ongoing unrest in the Valley.
The employees have been protesting against the alleged stone pelting on their transit camp in Kashmir at the Relief Commissioners Office (RCO) for 29 days now.
“We are disappointed that the Prime Minister while speaking about stone pelters did not utter a single word about us, people who are the real victims of stone pelting, but we will continue our protest and are hopeful that our struggle will bear fruits,” chairman of the All Party Migrant Coordination Committee, Vinod Pandita said.
“It is not about 700 people who are protesting here, but 700 families that have been hit by the turmoil,” he said.
The protesting employees demanded that “their posts be shifted to Jammu as it is not safe for them to return and work in Kashmir. There is no guarantee that they will not be targeted again by the mob,” Pandita said.
“We were peacefully doing our job in Kashmir when we were attacked by the mob. They forced us to raise anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans... They threatened to kill us. How can the government expect us to return and work in such an environment?” Sangeeta, a protester said.
The protesters have accused the state and the Centre of turning a blind eye towards the “miseries” faced by the community. They alleged that the government is yet to send a representative to talk to them.
Workers belonging to the Kashmiri Pandit community have refused to return to their jobs in the Valley after the alleged stone pelting on their transit camp.
More than 1,600 displaced Kashmiri Hindu youths had been recruited under Prime Minister’s Special employment package and posted in Kashmir voluntarily.
Most of these employees escaped from Haal transit accommodation in Pulwama, Baramulla, Kupwara transit camps, and Vessu and Mattan KP employees colonies in Anantnag district after the unrest began and have been camping in Jammu since.
The Valley has been in turmoil for the past month following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8. Locals have been clashing with security forces, violence that has killed close to 60 people and injured thousands more.