Protests continue over Kashmiri Pandit’s murder

Protests continued for the seventh day in Kashmir over the killing of PM Package employee Rahul Bhat

Kashmiri pandits
Image: Greater Kashmir

It is unusual to have continued protests in Kashmir Valley, and the sit-in protests by Kashmiri Pandit employees have entered the seventh day today. The protesters, angered and aggrieved over their Kashmiri Pandit colleague Rahul Bhat’s killing at the hands of terrorists, are seeking answers, action and reassurance from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Jammu and Kashmir administration, as well as the Union government.

According to news reports, as the protest approached the week-long milestone they were “assured” by senior police officials that “permanent peace will return to the valley soon as security forces will eliminate all terrorists within one-and-a-half year.”

The Kashmiri Pandits say, “We have seen repeated killings… ensure our safety or we will be forced to leave our jobs….if this is the dream of ‘naya Kashmir’ we are sorry.. There are scores protesting… our Kashmiri Muslim and Kashmiri Sikh brothers are standine side by side… supporting us, we are thankful to them.”



Rahul Bhat, worked at the revenue department in Budgam as a PM Package employee, and was shot and killed by terrorists on May 12, at his workplace in the Tehsil Office in Chadoora. Since that day, hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits, especially the employees, have been protesting on the streets, demanding justice for the Bhat family, as well as protection from the community. 



Kashmir Zone Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar urged the protesters “not get carried away by political parties”, stated news agency reports. These Kashmiri Pandit employees, who had returned to the valley under the Prime Minister’s Employment package for the migrants, have been holding protests at various places, especially near their migrant colonies in Budgam, Anantnag and Ganderbal. Slogans like “We are not safe. Give us safe passage out of here. The police were laughing at us,” are ringing out loud and clear, perhaps for the first time, this openly against the BJP led Union government and the Union Territory administration, who they say “have done nothing for the community.” 

The protesters, according to new reports, also burnt the effigy symbolising the Jammu and Kashmir administration, and raised slogans against Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha. Slogans such as, “LG tum ek kaam karo, kursi chhodd aaram karo (asking the LG to resign)”, ”administration down down” and ”we want justice” reportedly rang out at many protest sites along with “Tum kitne Rahul maroge, har ghar se Rahul niklega (How many Rahuls will you kill, each house will produce a Rahul).”

IGP Vijay Kumar, according to news reports, visited two protest sites, and told the Kashmiri Pandits, “You don’t have to be scared, you should not leave from here. If you go to Jammu or any other place, that is the agenda of Pakistan and terrorists. So we have to work together to defeat the agenda of the enemy.” He promised, “Police, army and CRPF together will eliminate all of them (terrorists) within one-and-a-half year. A permanent peace will come by eliminating the militants, for that you will have to be patient and not get carried away by political parties.” He also reportedly asked protesters to hold the sit-in protest inside their colonies only, “I have visited the other camps also, they are protesting there as well but within the colony. Sitting on the road is dangerous as the militants can throw a grenade while passing by on a bike or in a cab.” 

Kumar reportedly said that “protesting is no crime or sin” but “it is totally unsafe to sit on a dharna on the road; you can sit on the dharna inside. When army police and CRPF are attacked, civilians are sitting ducks.” He assured that “security of the camps (colonies) will be enhanced. Employees posted in remote areas will be brought to the district headquarters. Besides providing security, the other aspect is to reduce the number of terrorists. Right now their numbers have come down significantly out of frustration; they are hitting soft targets like off-duty policemen or minority community members or migrant labourers.”



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