Angry over attacks, Kashmiri pandits hit roads, staged protest

Srinagar: For the first time Kashmiri Pandit community has come out on roads in Kashmir to protest the killing of their community member by terrorists. Protests are being held in various parts of the Kashmir valley including Srinagar against the killing of Rahul Bhat.

A government employee Rahul Bhat was shot at by terrorists today afternoon at the office of Tehsildar, when he was performing his duties in Chandoora area of Budgam district. Migrant Kashmiri Pandits who have returned to Kashmir under prime Minister’s rehabilitation package staged protest and blocked the main Srinagar-Budgam road outside their security colony at Shiekhpora area. The protesters were raising slogans against the government, BJP and LG of Jammu and Kashmir.

Some of the protesters while talking to News24 said they have been brought back to Kashmir for being murdered as BJP government has totally failed to protect them.

Migrant Kashmiri Pandits (KPs), majority of them government employees working under Prime Minister’s Rehabilitation Package, also hit roads at various places across Kashmir to register their protest against the killing of their colleague Rahul Bhat at Chadoora, Budgam.

The protestors also blocked the Srinagar-Jammu highway outside Vessu migrant KP colony, Qazigund in Anantnag district to protest against the killings. They also lit candles to register their protest.

Another protester while speaking to News24 said that the migrant KPs were being targeted earlier and now during the BJP rule as well. “If rehabilitation costs life, we will prefer to resign enmass and flee Kashmir forever, the fact remains that the government has failed to protect us despite making tall claims.”

A massive protest was also held at Sheikhpora, Budgam outside the migrant KP colony where women and male members of the Pandit community sat on the middle of the road in protest against the killing of Rahul Bhat till late night.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Vijay Kumar visited Sheikhpora, Budgam to express solidarity and sympathy with the fellow colleagues of the slain employee. However, the protestors insisted him to bring Divisional Commissioner Kashmir to the spot and many angry protesters from minority community was seen confronting the IGP Kashmir, seeking answers over the killings of Kashmiri Pandits.

Several protestors alleged that the killing of Rahul Bhat at Tehsildar office Chadoora, was a major security lapse. “How come militants managed to enter the Tehsil office and kill Rahul,” they questioned.

Another protest was held along the Pulwama-Shopian highway outside KP migrant colony Nikas. “Fail Hai, Fail Hai, administration fail Hai, BJP Hai Hai” slogans were raised by the protestors.

Protests were also held in northern district of Baramulla where Pandit members assembled at Pandit Colony Veerwan, who demanded justice and protection to Kashmiri Pandits working under PM’s package.

Pertinently target attacks on Kashmiri Pandits and other non-locals is witnessing a steep rise since last few months, raising fears among the communities living in Valley. Today’s attack rings alarm bell among the security establishment as the terrorists targeted Kashmiri Pandit inside the Tehsildar office.

According to the available government data around four thousand Kashmiri Migrant Pandits who have returned to Kashmir under PM Package are engaged in different government departments in Valley. At the same time Police sources said it’s impossible to provide security to every individual Kashmiri Pandit at government offices. No doubt in coming days ahead the security concern of Kashmiri Pandits and other non-locals working in Kashmir Valley is going to be a biggest challenge for both government and security establishment.

first published:May 12, 2022, 10:57 p.m.

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