PAGD urges Kashmiri pandit employees not to leave valley; Delegations meet LG, BJP raises security issue

File Pic: Shakeel/Excelsior

Srinagar, May 15: The Gupkar alliance of major J-K parties on Sunday urged Kashmiri pandit employees not to leave the valley as it was their home and it would be “painful for all”, after the community demanded their relocation following the killing of a member by terrorists.
The appeal by the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) came after a delegation led by its president Farooq Abdullah met Jammu and Kashmiri Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at the Raj Bhavan here.
The meeting was over the issue of security of Kashmiri pandit employees in the aftermath of the killing of Rahul Bhat that has sparked protests by community members.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, the spokesperson of the five-party alliance, M Y Tarigami, said the valley is as much the home of Kashmiri Pandits as it is of Kashmiri Muslims.
“We appeal to them that this nation is yours as well as mine. Do not leave your home. It is very painful for you and us,” Tarigami said.
The alliance spokesperson said if Kashmiri pandits want to leave Kashmir in the wake of Bhat’s killing, then what about the families of slain Kashmiri Muslims.
“If Rahul was killed, Riyaz (a policeman) was also killed. Where will Riyaz’s family and relatives go? You (Kashmiri pandits) do not have to leave your home. This is your home, this is my home. We will bear this tragedy together and try to safeguard each other,” he said.
The CPI(M) leader said the alliance raised the issue of the transfer of the employees to safer places.
However, there is no possibility of their transfer outside Kashmir, he said.
“We told them (a delegation of KP employees which the PAGD leaders met on Saturday) that we cannot afford to let them leave. The LG also agreed to that today,” he said.
He said while the protection of the minority communities in every society was the responsibility of the governments, the people “cannot afford to oblige those who want to disturb our unity”.
The delegation told Sinha that sufficient protection must be provided to the employees at their workplaces as well as wherever they live and all possible assistance be provided to them so that they live here with a sense of security, he said.
“We told the LG that it was not possible for them to work in remote areas, so relocate them to the areas where there is full security, so that they feel confident about their well being. We also told the LG to provide safer accommodation to them. The LG has agreed to it,” Tarigami said.
He said the meeting with Sinha was “useful” and “productive”.
Apart from Abdullah, who is also the president of the National Conference, the delegation comprised PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, Tarigami, NC MP Hasnain Masoodi and Awami National Conference senior vice president Muzaffar Shah.
Meanwhile, a delegation of BJP leaders led by its J-K unit president Ravinder Raina also met the LG over the issue.
“We raised the issue of the targeted killings of minority communities, and labourers from UP, Bihar, with the LG. These are the evil designs of Pakistan to wound Kashmir. These killings are a matter of grave concern,” Raina told reporters outside Raj Bhavan here.
He said the BJP delegation discussed all issues of Kashmiri Pandit employees as well as others who are working in the valley and raised their concerns with the LG.
“We requested Sinha that there is a need to look into the issues of the Kashmiri Pandit employees under PM package, and other such employees and to have their postings in a secure area in district and tehsil headquarters,” he said.
“We also demanded that a nodal officer be nominated in the Raj Bhavan to coordinate with these employees.
“We put forth our concerns on the issues of rehabilitation policy as well as their accommodation before the LG. We told him that there is a sense of insecurity in various camps where Kashmiri pandits are living.
“So, we requested him to visit these camps immediately to boost the confidence of all the employees, and take some confidence-building measures,” Raina said.
The BJP leader said Pakistan has always shed the blood of Kashmiris.
“We are pained by these killings. Pakistan is the murderer of Kashmiris. Pakistan is against everyone in Kashmir and Jammu be it a Muslim, Hindu, Sikh or Christian,” he added. (Agencies)