Who is to blame for this exodus of Kashmiri Pandit gov’t employees?

Let down by gov't on security, Kashmiri Pandit migrant employees posted in the Valley under PM’s job scheme, begin shifting out en masse

exodus of Kashmiri Pandit
Image Courtesy:timesofindia.indiatimes.com

In wake of a spate of killings of Hindus in Kashmir, Kashmiri Pandit migrant employees under the PM’s job scheme have now begun to move out of the Valley. Sources on the ground have said that while the first few groups have already begun to move out on Thursday, other groups, including those who were sitting in protest in Sheikhpora, have begun to pack their belongings and are likely to leave by this evening.

This mass migration of the Pandit community comes after they said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government has failed to relocate them to safer places outside the Valley. They had given a 24 hours notice to the government to move them to a safer place. 

“Tents will be packed up today and residents of the colony will start moving towards Jammu,” said a source from the Valley. This was soon confirmed by the afternoon’s news breaks.


The angry Kashmiri Pandits posted in the Valley had warned the government that they would undertake a mass-migration and had set up a 24-hour deadline for their transfer out of Kashmir. This was their final warning after the targeted terror killing of Rajni Bala (36) a Hindu teacher at a South Kashmir school. She was shot dead at the morning assembly of the schools, and the murder was witnessed by students. It was Bala’s last day at the school, as she had been “transferred to a relatively safer area in the face of increased attacks on migrants.”

On Thursday, Bank Manager Vijay Kumar who hailed from Rajasthan was shot at by suspected militants, succumbed to his injuries in hospital. Kumar worked at  Ellaqie Dehati Bank at Areh Mohanpora in Kulgam district. He received grievous gunshot injuries and later succumbed. 

This was perhaps the last straw for the terrified community. On Thursday, many Kashmiri Hindus were seen sending additional security vehicles back, refusing to be confined further in the employees camps in the Valley. Some can be heard telling the security officers “it was too late”, that the people do not want to be locked in, and just want to save their lives. According to a report in the New Indian Express, the administration “sought to take the middle road by shifting them to secure locations at district/tehsil headquarters within the Valley itself.” 


According to a report in Frontline, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on his first visit to Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of its special status in August 2019, had said that the slew of government measures would uplift the lives of Jammu and Kashmir’s young people. But today, the Kashmiri Pandit community of the Valley seems to have lost all hope. They are openly blaming the Narendra Modi government for targeted attacks. The community has been raising slogans against the BJP government, and that anger has intensified in the recent past. According to the Frontline report, from the heavily fortified Vessu camp in Anantnag, where entry is barred to all outsiders, including mediapersons, a resident said, “Something changed with the abrogation of Article 370”.

Sanjay Tikoo, president of the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti, has been among the few who has openly said that the vilification of Muslims, had added to the vulnerability of the Kashmiri Pandits in the valley 

However, according to the report, “The BJP is confident that Kashmiri Pandits do not doubt its fidelity to their cause.”  It quoted BJP’s spokesperson Rahul Sharma, saying “Some of them are upset, but the feeling is temporary. The Pandits look to us with hope, they know it is only the BJP that has the political will to uproot terrorism in all its forms.”  

It was reported that the estimated 6,000 Hindu beneficiaries of the PM’s job scheme posted in the Valley as well as Jammu-based minority employees posted in militancy-hit Kashmir “will get fresh posting orders”  by Monday, June 6. on Wednesday J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha reportedly chaired a high level security meeting to discuss the targeted killings of last month. These seven victims included a Kashmiri Pandit, and a Hindu teacher as well as three Muslim policemen. 

It has been speculated that elections may soon be held in the Union Territory, and for the BJP many of the Kashmiri Pandit and Hindu government job beneficiaries are also an important vote bank. However after they are posted in vulnerable areas of the Kashmir valley and have repeatedly said they are prone to terror atatcks. According to news reports most of these employees are posted in distant districts and tehsil headquarters.    

The TNIE reported that the government had also claimed that the “security apparatus around all transit accommodations for migrant Kashmiri Pandit employees in the Valley will be beefed up and additional security personnel deployed in these areas for day and night patrolling.” The General Administration Department also set up a dedicated cell to resolve grievances of employees of minority communities in Kashmir, stated the report, the complaints were to be registered on “jk.minoritycell@gmail.com or call 0194-2506111 and 0194-2506112 from 10 am to 5.30 pm,” an administration spokesman told the media.

However, the attack on the bank manager followed. According to news reports, for the second time in “less than a fortnight” Union home minister Amit Shah called for a meeting on Friday to discuss security in J&K.

These frequent killings, especially those of migrant employees in the Valley, is a blot on the Centre’s rehabilitation policy. Members of the Pandit community have consistently put the blame at the door of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government accusing them of politically exploiting the community but not doing enough to ensure their security on the ground.

The Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti had expressed concerns about the increase of targeted attacks in the Valley.


Rajni Bala’s killing came soon after to the killing of Kashmir TV artiste Amreen Bhat (35), and her 10-year-old nephew was also injured after terrorists shot at him and his aunt in the Chadoora area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district. Before this protesters were already on the streets following the killing of Rahul Bhat by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam district on May 12. Bhat’s wife, Meenakshi Raina, had said his death had been ignored by the BJP government, and soon after that Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha visited the family in Jammu to extend his condolences and assurances.

So far 5,928 of the 6,000 posts set aside for Pandit migrants in Kashmir under the rehabilitation package have been filled. According to a Telegraph report “no more than 1,037 of them have been given secure accommodation or allowed to stay in transit camps while the rest live in rented quarters outside the secure zones.” 


Kashmir: School teacher Rajni Bala gunned down by terrorists in front of students during morning assembly
Kashmiri TV artiste Amreen Bhat killed in cold blood
Jammu & Kashmir: A grieving widow’s angry words, make admin act
Striving for peace in strife-torn Kashmir
Protests continue over Kashmiri Pandit’s murder 
Kashmiri Pandits stage protest in Valley, face tear gas, seek justice for Rahul Bhat



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