Srinagar, Kashmir - Over the past few months, Kashmir has witnessed a spate of targeted killings of civilians ,majority of them being Kashmiri Pandits. The members of the community have now started migrating to Hindu-dominated Jammu region of the union territory. The situation is a deja vu of the early 1990s when almost 3 lac Kashmiri Pandits migrated to Jammu after militancy broke out in the Valley.
Successive regimes had over the years started resettlement plans for Kashmiri Pandits in the valley, giving them jobs and accommodation there. However, the recent spate of killings has triggered waves of fear among them once again and many have already moved to Jammu.
Those who have decided to stay back are now in a dilemma of whether to stay or leave in the face of violence. BOOM traveled to three districts of Kashmir - Pulwama, Srinagar and Budgam- to understand the fear that the Kashmiri Pandits are living in. Most of the Pandits the BOOM spoke to say that due to the rise in targeted killings, they are living under constant fear and have confined themselves to the guarded camps.
These camps are part of a rehabilitation programme announced by the Centre back in 2008. Manmohan Singh, the then prime minister, had announced a Rs 1,614 crore employment and rehabilitation package for the resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley. As part of the package, 3000 state government jobs were offered to the community.
Amid the spree of targeted killings since October 2021, many feel that it is the abrogation of Article 370 that has led to an increase in targeted attacks.
For the past few months, Kashmiri Pandits have been demanding the government to relocate them to safer locations until the situation in the valley would turn "normal." Eighteen civilians have been killed in Kashmir in the past five months. Of them,12 were Kashmiri Muslims, three Kashmiri Pandits, a non-local Hindu teacher, a bank manager from Rajasthan and an employee of a liquor shop.
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