Majid Kapra

KP’s hold sit-in, demand posting to safer places

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Protests continue in Sheikhpora, rest of migrant camps across Valley

Srinagar: Members of Kashmiri Pandit community today staged a day long Dharna here to press for their demands including punishment to the killers of Rahul Bhat and posting of employees working under PM package to safer places.

Protesters alleged that the BJP government miserably failed to protect lives of Kashmiri Pandits in the valley and that they want to discharge their duty anywhere in India but not in Kashmir.

Holding banners and placards in their hands which read “we want justice, shift all PM package minority employees to risk free places, respect our rights and protect our lives” dozens of KP’s including men and women assembled at Press Enclave here and held a peaceful day long sit-in to press for their demands.

Protesting KPs said they cannot stay in Kashmir valley anymore in view of the back to back attacks and selective killings of minority community members.

While pressing for identification of and punishment to the killers of Rahul Bhat, they demanded posting of Kashmiri Pandit employees working in the valley to safer places.

Puja a protester told ‘Kashmir Images’ that providing job to the wife of slain Rahul Bhat and compensation to his family was not any favor from the government.

“It isn’t a a favor from the government. Wife is given job even if her spouse dies a natural death,” she said.

She asked the government to shift all KP employees to safer places as they cannot work in Kashmir anymore after the killing of their community members.

“It’s not about Rahul Bhat and his family or Kashmiri Pandit community, it’s the human issue, be it a policeman, a civilian or a non-local laborer, at the end of the day it’s only human beings who are being killed. I don’t hesitate to say that BJP failed to protect the Pandit community in the valley,” she added.

Meanwhile, Kashmiri Pandit employees and their family members continued their protest on Saturday at the Sheikhpora transit camp in Budgam district against the killing of Rahul Bhat and demanding their relocation to safer places outside Kashmir Valley.

A posse of security forces personnel stood guard outside the camp, ostensibly for their protection. The protesters, however, claimed that the security forces personnel prevented them from taking out a protest march.

The camp, which houses the families of Bhat and other Kashmir Pandits who were employed under the prime minister’s package in 2008, has become an epicentre of protests in the aftermath of the killing Bhat, who was shot dead by terrorists in his office in Chadoora on Thursday.

The protesters have been demanding their relocation to safe environments in the wake of a spurt in the attacks on the minority community members in the valley.

On Saturday, over a hundred employees — men and women — sat under a large makeshift tent, in order to protect themselves from the scorching heat prevalent across the valley, as they protested against Bhat’s killing as well to press for the acceptance of their demands.

So far, they said, there were no visible signs of any resolution to the problems.

“This is the failure of both the central as well as the union territory governments. This is the ninth killing (of minority community members), we are facing huge problems, but there is no redressal,” Vimal, a Kashmiri pandit employee, told PTI at the camp.

He said for the migrant employees to work freely, a safe and secure environment should be created.

“There has to have fool-proof security arrangements for us to work. We cannot work like this and so, we are planning to submit mass resignations,” Vimal said.

The employees — who on Friday had sat on the main road connecting the district with Srinagar city as well as the airport — said they were fooled by the police into vacating the road and were now “caged” inside the transit camp.

“We were removed from the dharna by the DIG (central Kashmir) on the assurance that the Lieutenant Governor will come to see us. However, the LG did not come. He sent his principal secretary, Nitishwar Kumar, instead around 11 pm,” Vimal said.

“He (Kumar) had no solutions, no redressal to our issues,” one of the employees said.

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