As militants spell doom for them, 16 KP families demand registration as migrants

Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, Oct 31: Sixteen Kashmiri Pandit families, who migrated from twin villages in South Kashmir’s Shopian district amid ‘targeted’ killings of members of their community, since August this year demanded that the administration register them as “migrants”.
Of the 13 families comprising 43 members, 10 had left Choudharygund village in Shopian district and reached Jammu on October 26. The remaining three had reached the city earlier while the three KP families from adjoining Choutigam village had migrated in August this year after two brothers were attacked by militants in this tiny village on August 16 resulting in the death of one of the brothers and serious injuries to another.
Prior to this incident a chemist was also attacked in the same village by the militants and he too received serious injuries. The continuous targeted attacks on KP minorities who stayed back in Valley during the last 34 years of turmoil left them with no option but to leave their homes and hearths and migrate to Jammu for their safety.
But much to their dismay, the authorities have not registered them as migrants as yet and they have not been even rendered any assistance by the Government till date. These families who belonged to apple hub Shopian district were self sustaining themselves as their fruit orchards fetch a good income for them but with the gun wielding militants spelling a doom for minority Pandits, these 16 families have come on footpath after losing their all sources of livelihood back in Valley.
These hapless families are in great distress as some of them have no source of income and with authorities taking no initiative of registering them as migrants, they see their future as totally bleak.
“We have submitted a joint application to the office of Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner at Jammu for registration of the 13 families as migrants in the wake of migration from the Valley to Jammu,” said V J Kaul, a representative of the families.
He said they have left their village out of insecurity and it is up to the Government to provide them registration.
Puran Krishan Bhat was gunned down by the militants outside his ancestral house in Choudharygund village on October 15.
Monish Kumar and Ram Sagar were killed in a grenade attack by the militants while they were asleep in their rented accommodation in Shopian on October 18.
In the application, the families said they had migrated to Jammu following Bhat’s killing in broad daylight.
“The incident of brutal killing compelled us to leave our native village to save our lives. We, the residents of Choudharygund, bore the brunt of militancy and shared agonies with our brethren for the last 32 years but killing of Bhat compelled us to leave the Valley,” they said.
They said prior to Bhat’s killing, a Government primary school was attacked but fortunately three teachers belonging to the minority community had a narrow escape.
On the same day, a letter was circulated on Social Media by Jihadi groups which threatened Kashmiri Pandits to leave Kashmir or face similar consequences, the families said in the application.
“We are not prepared to live there in danger and shifted to Jammu with our families. Our parents, wives and young kids are in trauma after this horrible incident of killing”.
“We made a lot of sacrifices in order to be able to stand there holding the Tricolour. Considering the aforementioned details, we hope that your office would register us as migrants just like any other migrant,” the application said.
On Thursday, authorities in Shopian had attempted to put a brave face by claiming that no exodus of Kashmiri Pandits had taken place from the district.
The members of the minority community, who have since been camping in Jammu, ruled out having any plan to return to the Valley.
A verified Twitter handle of the Information and Public Relations Department of Shopian had claimed that the news about leaving of “Kashmiri non-migrant Hindu population” was “baseless”.
However, Ashwani Kumar Bhat, whose brother Puran Krishan Bhat was gunned down, had told reporters in Jammu that he has migrated and will never return to the Valley.
Ashwani Kumar Bhat has pleaded with the authorities that the family of Puran Krishan be given adequate ex-gratia for their sustenance. Puran Krishan had left behind his wife and two small children. His wife is in shock since the killing of her husband.
Ashwani Kumar who is a teacher by profession also appealed the authorities to adjust him in Jammu as he has to look after the two families now after this catastrophe.
He said though other militancy victims were given Government job, over Rs five lakh as ex-gratia but except some meagre amount deposited by DC Shopian, family received no other help from Government side.
Same is the case with family of Sunil Bhat from Chotigam Shopian who was killed by militants on August 16 in his native village while his brother Pinto Ji received grievous injuries in the attack.
Except Rs one lakh as ex-gratia, the family was not paid anything more by Government till date. Sunil has left behind his young wife and four school going girl children. It has no source of income. The demand of registering them as migrants has not been conceded by the Government till date, said Pinto, brother of Sunil.
He said the authorities are reluctant to register them as migrants and except allotment of a quarter at Buta Nagar, no other assistance was given to family. “Our request of granting admission to the children in KV was not conceded till date as the family is unable to bear the fee in private schools”, he added.
Balkrishan of Chotigam Shopian who too was attacked prior to targeting of Sunil and his brother is also running from pillar to post for his registration as migrant as he too has no source of livelihood after being forced to leave Valley by militants and murderers of humanity.