Insecurity Among Kashmiri Pandits Rising, Leaving Valley Will Be 'Disastrous': BJP Tells Lt Gov Sinha

BJP's J&K unit told Lt Gov Sinha that protesting Kashmiri Pandits got batons instead of security and that they are losing confidence.

The BJP delegation with Lt Gov Sinha

The Jammu and Kashmir unit of Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday told Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha that "insecurity" among Kashmiri Pandit employees is increasing due to recent spike in their killings, asserting that an exodus of the community from the Valley will be a “black spot” on the initiatives of the government and that it will be a “disastrous step” if they leave the Valley.
In a memorandum to Sinha by a BJP delegation led by its J&K unit chief Ravinder Raina, the party said that Kashmiri Pandits protesting the killing of Rahul Bhat faced batons rather than security and no one reached out to them. 

The BJP’s memorandum to LG comes days after the killing of Rahul Bhat, a Kashmiri Pandit government employee, which has sparked protests by community members. He was shot dead in his office in Budgam district. 
The memorandum read, “The sense of insecurity is increasing high among Kashmiri Pandits employed under the prime minister's package due to chain of killings of Hindus in valley during the past over a year. Repeated assurances were given to them at each time the killing of any Hindu took place that it won't be repeated. And Rahul Bhat's killing in a busy government office in broad daylight by terrorists has shattered them."

The BJP said Pandit employees, who protested Bhat’s killing, faced batons and teargas shelling instead of getting a sense of security by the administration of the Union Territory.

It said, “Some of them were injured and a video of which went viral resulting in anti-BJP and anti-Modi ji sloganeering by them, which was seen for the first time in the past three decades in Jammu and Kashmir.

The BJP said that on Friday, the administration locked gates of the transit complexes housing Kashmiri Pandit employees and their families, “denying” the movement to markets to get food, vegetables and milk and, as per their grievances, they could not send their children to school.

The BJP said, “They are not bonded labourers brought here. What happened in the day was a protest and [they] clashed with police to open gates. It was heating touch instead of confidence building measure, they alleged. The alienation drew them [to] raise anti-Modi ji and anti-BJP slogans during protests in Jammu, Srinagar, Baramulla-Kupwara, Vessu, Mattan and outside the UT."

The party said it was because of this treatment given by the administration that the employees want to leave the Valley, which will be a “disastrous step” and a “black spot” on the initiatives of the government.

The BJP said, “Despite sitting on dharna, neither the administration officials nor head of UT, the KPs say, has reached to them to give them a sense of confidence and assurance. They [KP employees] are hell bent [on] mass resignation.”

The BJP said the minority Kashmiri Hindus and Sikhs are “losing confidence” as they say the lower and middle section bureaucracy and officialdom has the same eco-system as that of the previous period.

During the Congress rule, the party said, when the special employment policy was framed, a "bond to serve in Kashmir till retirement" was made the main condition to getting employment.

“This clause is in violation of the Constitution of India and a grave human rights violation meant to give them bad sense of being 'bonded labourer' [and] not an employee,” the memorandum said. 

Saying there was an urgent need for reaching out to the protesting employees by the Lt Gov in order to provide them a sense of security, confidence and belongingness, the party suggested that the clause of "bond" of the previous employment policy needs to be done away with to address this demand of employees.

“As the employees in J&K are central government employees, policy should also include providing them jobs in Central services too,” the party said.

The party also suggested the employees be posted in various secured institutions like police, secretariat, Raj Bhavan, city and town-based government departments — where there is a security set-up available. 

The party said there is a need to move the employees to some newly constructed government buildings in various districts from unsecured rented accommodation.

“These government accommodations should have security and facilities for housing them. Moreover, there is demand of permanent allotment in the names of employees in Kashmir as part of their rehabilitation,” it said.

The party expressed hope that the issues raised by it would be addressed as soon as possible.

(With PTI inputs)