Posters warn Kashmiri Pandits to leave Valley or ‘face death’

  • Toufiq Rashid, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Aug 07, 2016 23:39 IST
Soldiers stand guard during a curfew in Srinagar. More than 50 people have been killed and thousands injured in weeks of unrest in Kashmir, sparked by the death of militant commander Burhan Wani in a firefight with government forces. (Waseem Andrabi/HT)

Posters threatening Kashmiri Pandits have surfaced near the transit accommodations for government employees in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district asking them to leave the Valley or be ready to face consequences.

Typed on an unsigned letterhead of a little known organisation called Lashkar-e-Islam, the posters have asked “all migrants/RSS agents to leave Kashmir or face death.”

“No space for Kashmiri Pandits who want another Israel in Kashmir to kill Kashmiri Muslim,” the posters said.

The poster has gone viral after it was shared on micro blogging site twitter by Panun Kashmir leader and film maker Ashok Pandit as “message for all the pseudo liberals, white-collared terrorists & other pimps of terrorists.”

While police confirmed the presence of the posters in the area, the SP in charge of Pulwama, Rayees Mohammad Bhat said it could be the handiwork of miscreants.

“We also got the information about presence of a few posters in the area but we believe it is some miscreants who want to create fear among the minority community,’’ Bhat said.

Read: Curfew, separatist shutdown cripple Kashmir for 30th day

The police officer said Lashkar-e-Islam has no presence in South Kashmir. “It is a Sopore-based group and has no presence in the South Kashmir. They have no cadre here (Pulwama),” he added.

Lashkar-e-Islam first made news after they threatened owners of telecommunication towers in North Kashmir’s Sopore area in May 2015. The threats were followed by killings as well. The group which was earlier believed to be a front for Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba was, however, denounced by both the militant organisations after the killings.

Many Kashmiri Pandit government employees who had joined under the Prime Minister’s package last year, had sought transfers to Jammu or other parts of the country some time earlier fearing a backlash in the Valley. According to locals, most families have left the transit accommodation.

A few weeks ago, police had denied reports that the migrant camps at Haal Pulwama and Vesu in Anantnag and some places in north Kashmir were attacked by the mobs. Cases were registered against some social media users for spreading false news of attacks and killings of Kashmir Pandits.

Police sources say the posters against Kashmiri Pandits are part of a series of other poster campaigns by lesser known organisations in the area.

Read: ‘Join the separatists’: Kashmir cop tells IAS officer after Facebook spat

“Some of the posters even warned people against joining the pro-freedom rallies. Some posters even asked woman not to venture out of their homes’’, an official said.

A few days ago a relatively unknown group called ‘Sangbaz (stone pelter) association Jammu and Kashmir, Azad Kashmir’ had warned young girls against ridding two wheelers. The association said it “will burn both the vehicle and the female riders” if they are seen out on the roads “till the end of this fight.”

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