‘Administration didn’t take measures to ensure safety’: Kashmiri Pandit groups

Sanjay Tickoo of the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti said the union territory administration had not responded to his requests for reviewing the security situation
Earlier, Sanjay Tickoo and a few other members of Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti were on a hunger strike. (HT photo)
Earlier, Sanjay Tickoo and a few other members of Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti were on a hunger strike. (HT photo)
Updated on Oct 08, 2021 11:33 AM IST
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In the wake of targeted killings of minorities in Kashmir, several Kashmiri Pandit organisations have alleged the administration did not take adequate measures to ensure their safety despite intelligence inputs indicating their vulnerability to terror attacks.

Sanjay Tickoo of the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti said the union territory administration had not responded to his requests for reviewing the security situation. “We had been seeking an appointment with the government to raise issues pertaining to our safety,” he said.

In a letter to Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha dated October 5, Tickoo wrote, “…for more than 10 days there is an input that businessman and prominent faces from (among) non-migrant Kashmiri Pandit/Hindus living in Kashmir Valley will be eliminated from Kashmir Valley.” He complained that the security agencies had not addressed their concerns.

A government employee living in Anantnag said after terrorists killed two teachers in the Valley on Thursday, no effort was made to ensure the safety of the minority community employees. “There are between three to four teachers in several government-run schools in Anantnag. They had to write to the authorities to provide them security. But they were told to stay put in the Kheer Bhawani (Temple) complex,” the employee said.

Panun Kashmir, an organisation of the displaced people that seeks a separate homeland for them in Kashmir, held a protest in Jammu on Thursday demanding action against the targeted killings.

Ajay Chrungoo, Chairman of Panun Kashmir, blamed the killings on the government’s “failure to recognise these attacks as genocide”.

“The government of India has failed to admit that there is a genocide in Kashmir. They have normalised the killings. They need to take immediate steps to bring a law against genocide and pave the way for its reversal,” he said.

Over the last year, terrorists have also gunned down Ajay Bharti Pandita, a sarpanch, Akash Mehra, whose family ran Krishna Dhabha in Srinagar, Satpal Nischal, a jeweller, Shanker Chowdhary, a labourer, Rakesh Pandita, the chairman of the Tral Municipal Council.

“There has also been desecration of temples and places of worship. Recently, there were pictures of how the Barghshikha Temple at Mattan (in Anantnag) was desecrated; all this was done to create fear,” said the Anantnag resident quoted above.

A resident of Srinagar said the government failed to take note of the vituperative posts on social media that explicitly called for not allowing non-locals to work and reside in the Valley. “These posts are all over social media platforms. They contribute to the atmosphere of fear. I know families that have been staying outside Srinagar for decades but are now packing their bags to leave,” the resident said.

A government official, not wishing to be named, said the security agencies had been on the watch and will take all precautions to address the concerns of the minority communities.

Following reports that Hindu and Sikh families in the Valley have begun migrating, the administration said it has taken steps to reach out to the families, assuring them of protection.

“Directions have been given to all the district commissioners to ensure that security is provided to all those who are asking for it. Some people in places such as Vessu in Anantnag district and in Kulgam district asked to be moved to safer locations such as government guest houses. We are making arrangements for moving them too,” said a second official on condition of anonymity.

The official added contrary to reports not many families are moving out. “In Mattan, there are about 180 families, and the deputy commissioner has been in touch with them,” the official said.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2021