Kashmiri Pandits protest, leader on indefinite fast
The non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits staged a sit-in and Kashmir Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS) president Sanjay Tickoo also started a ‘fast-unto-death’ here on Sunday against the ‘punishing’ of community members in the Valley. They alleged they were facing harassment at the hands of the government after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5 last year.
“We strongly feel that the Disaster Management Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (DMRR&R) Department is punishing the left out (non-migrant) Kashmiri Pandits for staying back in Kashmir. Since the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A, we are facing harassment and isolation at the hands of the Relief Department. Despite multiple directions from the High Court and recommendations from the Centre through the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Relief Department is playing with the life and security of the non-migrant Pandits,” said Tickoo after sitting on a fast.
The non-migrants also staged a sit-in at Ganesh Mandir, Ganpatyaar-Habba Kadal in the old city. At present, over 800 non-migrant Pandit families are living here and did not migrate out of the Valley after the eruption of militancy more than 30 years ago.
Tickoo said despite rounds of meeting with government officials besides a recent meeting with Lt-Governor Manoj Sinha, their demands were not being addressed.
The KPSS demands include ‘vigilance inquiry’ against the officials of the Relief Department for ‘deliberately stalling and sabotaging’ relief and rehabilitation of the non-migrant Pandits and implementation of the High Court directions and recommendations of the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding jobs to the unemployed educated Kashmiri Pandit youth. Other demands include ‘stress-free process of providing bonafide certificates’, monthly financial aid to 808 non-migrant Kashmiri Pandit families living in Kashmir and providing accommodation to the deserving pandits.