JAMMU: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has asked the protesting Kashmiri Pandit employees to return to Kashmir valley and join their duties.
Kashmiri Pandit employees have been protesting for last 13 days after they fled Kashmir due to the alleged stone pelting on their transit camps. Jammu BJP unit today asked them that they have to eventually return to the Valley.
A four-member BJP team which included MLCs Surinder Ambardar and Ramesh Arora, State General Secretary Narinder Singh and President Minority Cell Chand Bhat met the protesting employees and told them that it were not the employees only but the entire Kashmiri Pandit community has to return to the Valley and settle there.
“Our resolve is that entire Kashmiri pandit community has to return and settle in Kashmir. Every single soul wherever they are living have to go back in a way that they don’t get displaced again,” Ambardar said.
He said they will create an environment in the Valley for the return of migrant pandits and will even talk to separatists if they come forward for peace in the state.
Kashmiri Pandit employees have refused to join work citing unrest and alleged stone-pelting on their transit camps in Kashmir.
The team assured the employees to take up the issue with state and central government. The protesting employees had been recruited under Prime Minister’s Special employment package and posted in Kashmir voluntarily.
The employees, including women continued their dharna at the Relief Commissioners Office (RCO) and raised slogans against the state and the central government. The protesters also raised anti BJP slogans which echoed the Commissioner’s Office.
Ambardhar while speaking to Kashmir Reader on the sideline of the visit said, “The government especially the constituted BJP’s Coordination Committee was already aware of the miseries of Kashmiri Pandit youth who had been recruited and posted in Kashmir voluntarily and demands that other members of the minority community be evacuated from the valley.”
“We know that around 500 employees out of 1600 employees have escaped from Haal transit accommodation in Pulwama, Baramulla, Kupwara transit camps, Vessu and Mattan colonies in Anantnag district, after the unrest began and managed to reach Jammu,” he added.
Replying to a query over return of Kashmiri Pandit employees who have refused to join their duties in valley, Ambardhar said, “We have to sit together and sort out the issue amicably. I tell you that these KP employees have to join their duties in their respective places in valley with foolproof security and satisfactory arrangements so that they will not face any kind of problems or harassment in future.”
“We will take up the matter first with Coordination Committee and same has been taken with state and central governments so that employees should be pacified to join their duties in Kashmir valley,” he added.
Taking a dig on previous NC-Congress government, Ambardar said, “The arrangements provided to KP employees by the previous NC-Congress regime are futile keeping in view their safety and protection.”
“It was previous government who had not taken any concrete and serious steps in this context due to which the KP employees are still feeling insecure in valley,” he alleged.
Hitting out at Pakistan, Ambardar said “Pakistani Prime Minister is apprehending a coup in the country and has instigated violence in Kashmir which led to the attack on Kashmiri pandit camps”.
Meanwhile, the protesting employees termed the “assurances” by BJP leaders as a “mere eyewash”.
“It was only after 13 days that the BJP leadership woke up from its deep slumber and came here to enquire what our problems are. They should have come with a solution, National Spokesman, All Party Migrants Coordination Committee, King Bharti said.
He alleged that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh during his two-day Kashmir visit “did not enquire about the employees”.
Over 1400 Kashmiri pandit employees returned to Jammu from various transit camps in the Valley in the wake of the violent protests that erupted after the Killing of Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani.
More than 1600 displaced Kashmiri pandits have been recruited under Prime Minister’s special employment package and are posted in Kashmir since 2009.
—With additional inputs from PTI