Kashmiri Pandit employees seek MPs support for relocation

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An organization of Kashmiri Pandit employees, who have been on an indefinite protest seeking transfer from Kashmir Valley citing safety concerns, appealed to parliamentarians on Sunday to back their demand, reported Press Trust of India (PTI).

Nearly 4,000 Kashmiri Pandits are working in different government departments in the valley after their selection under the prime minister’s employment package.

They have been on an indefinite strike in support of their demand for their relocation outside the valley since the killing of their colleague Rahul Bhat.

Bhat was shot dead by militants inside his office in Budgam district of central Kashmir on 12 May.

The All Migrant (displaced) Employees Association Kashmir (AMEAK), which has been spearheading the protest for over 80 days, alleged that the writ of the state runs only cosmetically and an ordinary citizen, particularly a member of the pandit community, is at the mercy of “terrorist enterprise”.

The organisation said the employees have decided to leave Kashmir till the security situation changes for the better.

In a three-page appeal addressed to the parliamentarians, they said, “We, the employees of PM’s package for rehabilitation of Hindus in Kashmir as well as those who were subsequently employed, are face to face with a life-threatening and extremely demeaning situation. Our experience of living in Kashmir after joining our services has been the experience of living in an extremely hostile communal order.”

“We cannot exercise freely the rights of freedom of religion and expression. Our right to live is in jeopardy because terrorists see our presence as an obstruction to their designs,” AMEAK president Satish Raina said, adding the security situation is such that it is impossible for even the government forces to provide protection to each Hindu individual living in the valley.

He said, as per the report, they tried to adjust to the circumstances with the hope that both the government and the society of the majority community will provide them security.

“This hope has been belied at all levels…Having realized it and having experienced a betrayal at the hands of both the government and the political class we have decided to leave Kashmir till the situation changes there for the better,” Raina said, adding, “we will not live or serve there under the present circumstances come what may”. (PTI)

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