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Kashmir: Another Targeted Killing Triggers Migration, Situation Worsens

Anees Zargar |
As many as 165 employees working in Kashmir under PM’s special package for relief and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits have already left with families, said KPSS.
kashmiri pandit

Kashmiri Pandits protest against the killing of a school teacher

Srinagar: The fresh spate of targeted killings in Kashmir Valley has caused a widespread panic among people with scores of members of the minority communities beginning to leave the region due to increasing fear.

As many as 165 employees who were working in Kashmir under the Prime Minister’s special package for relief and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits have left along with their families since May, according to Kashmir Pandit Sangarsh Samiti (KPSS), an organisation that tracks minority issues in the region.

“As per our information, 165 employees under the PM package have left with their families. We have also heard that Hindu families from Jammu who were working in Kashmir have also left after the recent killings,” KPSS’s Sanjay Tickoo told NewsClick.

According to Tickoo, the government employees had given a 36-hour deadline for the government to act and provide security and relocate them outside the region. “That time is over. This is why they are leaving,” he said.

There are as many as 4,000 employees, all of whom are members of the Pandit community posted in Kashmir Valley, while many others also work in various departments outside the package. The latest wave of departure was spurred by the killing of a bank manager of Ellaquai Dehati Bank in Kulgam district of South Kashmir.

The Jammu and Kashmir police said that the victim identified as Vijay Kumar, a resident of Hanumangarh of Rajasthan, was shot dead inside the bank premises Thursday morning.

“Terrorists fired upon a bank employee (manager) at Ellaqie Dehati Bank at Areh Mohanpora in Kulgam district. He received grievous gunshot injuries in this terror incident. He is a resident of Hanumangarh, Rajasthan. Area cordoned off. Further details shall follow,” the Kashmir Zone Police tweeted.

The officials, however, said Kumar succumbed to his injuries. His killing comes only two days after suspected militants shot dead a school teacher in Kulgam.

As many as 18 targeted killings have been reported this year so far that include members of the minority communities, panchayat members, policemen and a social media influencer. The incidents have been reported despite heightened security measures, military operations against militant groups.

The members of the Kashmiri Pandit community, according to KPSS, have urged the J&K administration to provide them security until Banihal tunnel, as they plan to “mass migrate” to Jammu on Friday.

As Kashmir witnessed a spike in violence, many have slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre for “mishandling” the restive Union territory. The killing of Kumar drew condemnations from the political parties, who termed it as “barbaric.”

“Yet another targeted killing! Yet another innocent life snuffed out! Unequivocally condemn the cowardly and dastardly attack on Bank Manager of Ellaquai Dehati, Bank Vijay Kumar in which he lost his life. May the deceased rest in peace. Our condolences go out to his family and friends,” a National Conference (NC) spokesperson said.

CPI (M) leader Mohamad Yousuf Tarigami termed the bank manager’s killing as “barbaric” and said that this is yet another addition to the long list of civilian killings.

“The administration must post these employees in safer places and provide them secure accommodations. Every citizen, irrespective of his, her affiliation, must raise their voice against such heinous criminal acts,” Tarigami said.

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