Jammu: Several Kashmiri Pandits, who have got jobs in the valley under Prime Minister’s employment package, have reached here along with their families and said an environment of apprehension is prevalent in the valley owing to the recent spate in the targeted killings by terrorists.
The Pandits said they have heaved a sigh of relief on reaching their township at Jagti in the outskirts of Jammu after spending sleepless nights in their rented accommodations in the Kashmir over the past few weeks.
Nearly 4000 displaced Kashmiri Pandits are working in different departments in the valley after their selection under Prime Minister’s employment package which was announced in 2008 having two major components one pertaining to the provision of 6000 jobs for youth and another pertaining to the provision of 6000 accommodation units for the recruited employees.
The process of filling the remaining 2000 odd jobs is in progress along with construction of 4000 accommodation units.
An environment of apprehension is prevailing in Kashmir in the wake of the selective killings in different parts of the valley. We lost our colleague Rahul Bhat who was shot dead inside his office in Budgam district on May 12 and decided to leave for Jammu, Deepankar Raina said.
He said the majority of the PM package employees were reluctant to stay back but the government sealed the transit camps with barbed wire and did not allow the occupants to leave.
“Our only demand is our relocation outside Kashmir which, we believe, is not safe for us. The government is talking about our relocation to secure places but Bhat was working in a well secured office and so was the banker Vijay Kumar who was gunned down inside his office in Kulgam district on Thursday,” Raina said.
He said they have to move out of the secured accommodation to attend their duties and buy daily use items like vegetables and milk.
Another employee Amit Koul said he has decided not to return to Kashmir and put his life and his family in danger.
“Our only demand is relocation of PM package employees out of the valley. We are ready to serve anywhere else till the situation returns to normal,” he said.
Jagnesh Kumar said fear psychosis has gripped the community who are presently living in the valley and many of them who were living in rented accommodations in Kupwara, Baramulla, Anantnag and Budgam have already left for Jammu.
“We are watching the developments from Srinagar to Delhi where a high-level meeting is under progress. Kashmir belongs to us and we are ready to serve there but the government needs to provide a secure atmosphere,” he said.
He said the repeat of the 1990-like situation is on cards due to the failure of the security agencies to check the targeted killings.
Kashmiri pandits left enmass for Jammu in 1990 and the ground realities are forcing the miniscule community to leave the valley again, he said.
A woman employee, accompanied by her husband and a minor child, said since the killing of Bhat, every day was a nightmare for the family.
“We had sleepless nights in our rented accommodation over the past few weeks and thinking of going back to the valley is impossible,” she said.
Though the exact number of pandit families who have returned from Kashmir to Jagti township could not be ascertained officially, social activist Sunil Pandita claimed that dozens of families have come back from the valley over the past two days.
The spurt in violence is the reflection of the failure of the government and exposed the false claims of normalcy returning to the valley in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370. Heads should roll at the highest level in the Union Territory, he said. PTI