9 Kashmiri Pandits killed in J&K in 2 years: Govt to House | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

9 Kashmiri Pandits killed in J&K in 2 years: Govt to House

Dec 15, 2022 05:26 AM IST

Nine Kashmiri Pandits have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir since 2020, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) informed Parliament on Wednesday.

Nine Kashmiri Pandits have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir since 2020, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) informed Parliament on Wednesday.

MoS Home Nityanand Rai (ANI Photo)
MoS Home Nityanand Rai (ANI Photo)

Of the nine, one of them belonged to the Kashmiri Rajput community, it added.

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Union minister of state for home Nityanand Rai provided the figures in a written response to a query by Congress MP Rajmani Patel who sought to know the total number of Kashmiri Pandits killed in the Valley in the last three years and steps being taken to protect the civilians in the region.

Terror groups have moved to the targeted killing of Kashmiri Pandits and migrant workers over the past year. This has increased fears among Pandits, including those who have been employed by the union territory under a new scheme. Many of them continue to live in what they describe as “security camps” and have been demanding postings outside the Valley, in Jammu.

Kashmiri Pandit Puran Krishan Bhat, a fruit cultivator, was killed by terrorists near his home in the Chowdhary Gund area of Shopian district on October 15.

In August, Sunil Kumar Bhat , 48, a fruit farmer, was shot dead and his cousin brother, Pitambar, injured when terrorists opened fire on them in their orchard in the same district.

Sanjay Tickoo, the president of Kashmiri Pandits Sangarsh Samiti, said: “Why are only Kashmiri Pandit killings being highlighted. The question is there were many other killings in this period... The leaders sitting in parliament represent whole J&K. Now, if we concentrate on Kashmiri Pandit killings, what happened to the SITs and probes which were announced. Where are these reports? Have they been tabled in parliament? What was the outcome of these probes. I think it is more to drive political milage than to sympathise with any community whose kith and kin were killed after the abrogation of Article 370.”

In an effort to disrupt life and business, terror groups have also started targeting migrant workers. In October, two migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh were killed in a grenade attack in Shopian district. Police had said at the time that the attackers had been arrested and efforts were on to nab their Lashkar-e-Taiba commanders.

Rai said one Kashmiri Pandit was killed in 2020 and four each in 2021 and 2022.

He also said the “there has been substantial decline in terrorist attacks from 417 in 2018 to 229 in 2021.”

“The Government has a policy of zero tolerance against terrorism and the security situation has improved significantly in Jammu and Kashmir,” he asserted.

The government listed various measures taken by it to protect the civilians in the Valley. They are “round-the-clock nakas (checks) at strategic points, strict enforcement of the law against anti-national elements, intensified cordon and search operations (CASO) to effectively deal with challenges posed by terrorist organisations, surveillance on persons who attempt to provide support to terrorists and initiate action against them, sharing of intelligence inputs on a real-time basis amongst all security forces, day and night area domination and security arrangements through appropriate deployment”.

To a question on expenses incurred on security arrangements in J&K every year, Rai said: “There are various agencies/organisations which operate for security of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The details of expenditure for the purpose are not centrally maintained.”

The Centre spent 2,814 crore for security-related expenses of J&K police since 2019, he said.

To be sure, this is not the total security expenditure in J&K as many other forces are deployed in the region.

In another response in the Upper House, Rai said “the problem of terrorism and threats to internal security in India is largely sponsored from across the border”.

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