2,000+ govt jobs, transit accommodation & cash relief to Kashmiri Pandits, says MHA mum on their security

In the ongoing session of Parliament, the government says that they have taken several steps to ensure the safety of Kashmiri Pandits while the ground reality significantly differs

Kashmiri Pandits
Image Courtesy: swarajyamag.com

On December 13, 2022, during the ongoing Winter Session of the Parliament, Lok Sabha Members Shri Kunwar Pushpendra Singh Chandel (BJP) and Shrimati Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah (BJP) raised the question of whether the Government has taken any measures to protect the rights and lives of minority Kashmiri Pandits in the country in view of the frequent attacks on them. They also asked to be provided with the details of the policy measures being undertaken for the welfare of Hindus minorities in Kashmir.

The Minister of the Ministry Of Home Affairs, Shri Nityanand Rai, responded to the said question by informing the Lok Sabha that “The Government has a policy of zero tolerance against terrorism. The Government has taken several measures to ensure safety of Kashmiri Pandits in the valley. These include a robust security and intelligence grid, day & night area domination, patrolling and proactive operations against terrorists, round the clock checking at Nakas, deployment of Road Opening Parties at strategic points to thwart any terrorists attack.”

The government then went on to state that “2,639 Government jobs have been provided to Kashmiri Migrants under Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP), 2015. Government has also approved construction of 6000 units of transit accommodations for Kashmiri Migrant employees engaged/to be engaged in different Departments of Government of Jammu and Kashmir in the valley. Further, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir has launched a portal on 7.9.2021 to address the grievances of Kashmiri Migrants. The Government of India reimburses the expenditure incurred by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir on providing the following facilities to the eligible Kashmiri migrants settled in Jammu:

(i) Monthly cash relief at the current rate of Rs. 3250 per person with the ceiling of Rs. 13,000/- per family; and

(ii) Monthly dry ration of 9 kg rice, 2 kg Atta per head and 1 kg sugar per family.

In the case of Kashmiri migrants settled in Delhi, the Government of India reimburses the expenditure incurred by the Government of NCT of Delhi (GNCTD) on the monthly cash relief of Rs. 3250/- per person out of which the share of GNCTD is Rs. 1000/- per person.”

The answer can be read here:

Has the Government Actually been able to protect the Kashmiri Pandits?

On December 6, 2022, Peoples’ Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti had accused the BJP of “exploiting the pain and suffering” of Kashmiri Pandits and said the government had failed to protect the minority community in Kashmir.

“This government has failed to protect Kashmiri Pandits. It is only exploiting the pain and suffering of the community for its own benefits. It is not serious about their problems,” Mufti had told reporters at Qazigund in Anantnag district.[1]

This comment was made by her in reference to the leakage of a list of Kashmiri Pandit employees posted in Kashmir. She had said that it was unfortunate that such information was being made public. 

In the month of October, Union Home Minster Amit Shah had visited the valley and claimed the situation in Kashmir is normal and that militancy has been neutralised. Time and again, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and officers of the Jammu and Kashmir administration have repeated this claim. The Sangh and BJP have always maintained the root cause of the Kashmir problem was Article 370, granting the region special status. Therefore, they argued, its removal would bring normalcy to the valley.

Now, more than three years after the abrogation of Article 370, when the erstwhile state was carved into two Union Territories, and its administration brought under central rule, the situation has worsened. Kashmiri Pandits who did not leave the valley even in the nineties are being killed and compelled to migrate. Many Pandits have shifted families to Jammu or elsewhere, and at least five families have permanently left Kashmir.

Sanjay Tikoo, leader of the resident Pandit association, KPSS, who himself is living with the risk of life threats levelled, says if today’s situation persists, most members of his community will leave the valley. Beneficiaries of the PM’s Package must not be made sacrificial lambs for the sake of image management for the government. Blocking the salaries of migrant Pandit government employees and compelling them to remain in the valley is no solution to this problem. Until the situation normalises and security is assured, there is no point in pressuring them into forced rehabilitation. Even during the nineties, the Pandits who fled the valley were not denied salaries and compensated for their hardships and agony.

The Fiasco of Kashmir Files

The Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS), a Srinagar-based group representing those Kashmiri Pandits who, at great risk to their lives and livelihoods, never migrated from the Valley had called The Kashmir Files an attempt to sell the community’s pain for commercial and political “benefits”.

KPSS president Sanjay Tikoo told the media the tweet was about the film, which he said had caused nothing but harm to the Pandit community. “The film is nothing but commercialisation of our pain, politicisation of our pain,” Tickoo had said.

The Kashmir Files, endorsed by the BJP, portrays the 1990 attacks on Pandits in Kashmir in a manner that seeks to demonise Muslims. Nadav Lapid, celebrated Israeli filmmaker and chief jury at the International Film Festival of India, had on Monday said the film was “propaganda” and “vulgar”.

The Samiti chief, who had criticised The Kashmir Files in the past as well, said the film had dealt a blow to decades-long efforts to bridge the differences between the Muslim and Pandit communities in Kashmir.

Brief Background of Kashmir Exodus:

Hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits were forced to flee Kashmir from 1989 onwards due to terrorist attacks and violence. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, many Kashmiri migrants are living in different areas of the valley. These include existing transit accommodation at Vesu (Kulgam), Mattan (Anantnag), Haval (Pulwama), Natansa (Kupwara), Sheikhpora (Budgam) and Veerwan (Baramulla).


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[1] BJP Government Has Failed To Protect Kashmiri Pandits, Says PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti (outlookindia.com)




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