Kashmiri Pandits flee Valley after targeted killings | India News – Times of India

SRINAGAR: Fresh attacks on minorities in Kashmir in the last few days triggered an exodus by Kashmiri Pandits with scores of families leaving the valley on Friday, a day after the killing of two teachers of a government school – one of them a Kashmiri Pandit and the other a Kashmiri Sikh. Stunned by the fresh targeting of the minority communities by the terrorists – four killings in three days — many other families are preparing to leave the valley in the next few days.
Dozens of Kashmiri Pandit families were seen leaving Sheikhpora, a locality which was exclusively established in the Budgam district in 2003 to bring back and rehabilitate the Pandits. Sharda Devi, who lived with her son and daughter-in-law in the cluster after her son got a job under a special package launched by the Prime Minister in 2015, said they had booked a cab for early Saturday morning, when they plan to quietly leave their home.
Another Kashmiri Pandit said he did not have the courage to step outside the locality after the recent killings. “We are safe inside this colony as it has proper security, but we can’t go outside for work. Some of us have to attend offices and cannot stay indoors all the time like this,” he said, requesting anonymity.
Kashmiri Pandit families who had returned to the valley had hoped to rebuild their lives after their children got government jobs and the government had allotted flats to them in Sheikhpura. But the targeted killings have left them in a state of despair.
A 51-year-old Kashmiri Pandit, who moved out from Shopian with his family, said, “We had not left the valley even in the worst times in the 1990s but the targeted killing of the minority communities now has forced us to migrate from here.”
An inconsolable Kanta Devi, mother of slain school teacher Deepak Chand, said the government could not ensure security of her son, who had come to Kashmir to earn a living and paid with his life. Kanta Devi had migrated out of the Valley in the 1990s.
Chand’s cousin Vicky Mehra said Kashmir is “hell for us, not heaven”. “It is the return of the 1990 situation in the valley. The government has failed to protect us,” he said, adding that he tried to call Chand on his mobile after he came to know about the attack, but it was not reachable. “Later, a terrorist picked up a call from the family and threatened us too,” he claimed.
Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti president Sanjay Tiku told PTI: “Around 500 people or more have started leaving from different areas like Budgam, Anantnag and Pulwama. There are some non-Kashmir pandit families who have also left. It is 1990 revisited… It may seem invisible but migration is going on and I was anticipating this. We had requested an appointment from the Lt. Governor’s office in June, but have not been given time till now.”
Another Kashmiri Pandit organisation said some employees from the community, who were provided government jobs under a rehabilitation package in 2010-11, have started moving to Jammu quietly fearing for their life, alleging the administration was unable to provide them a secure environment.
The administration, meanwhile, has given a holiday of 10 days to employees from the minority community, official sources said.
Thousands of people on Friday took part in a rally, held under the banner of the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Forum (JKPF) and raised anti-Pakistan slogans. Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, and Jagran Manch also held demonstrations against the incidents, while members of the Kashmiri Pandit community protested in Purkhoo, Butanagar and Muthi.

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