BUDGAM (KASHMIR): Restive Kashmir erupted in a protest of an unprecedented kind in recent times as hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits took on the streets at several places in the valley to protest the gruesome killing of Rahul Bhat on Thursday.
On Friday morning, police dispersed hundreds of Pandit protestors after they were trying to march toward Srinagar International Airport. Police used batons and burst smoke shells to disperse the protestors. Some of the protesters have received injuries in police action.
While the killing had fuelled a series of protests across the valley, it also gave a big jolt to the central government’s effort to reintegrate the displaced Pandits in the valley.
Concerned about their safety following the recent killings of people from minority communities in the Kashmir valley, the All PM Package Employees Forum has written an En Masse resignation letter to J&K LG with copies to the Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Home Affairs.
“Due to dejection by the policies of the administration and subsequent failure of providing a sense of security to all Kashmiri Pandit Minorities serving in the valley for the last 12 years, and due to desperation by promised custodians, who promised us to provide a dignified and honourable return, and due to threat of life which is a fundamental right of each and every human being.
“We below mentioned PM Package employees and non-PM package employees have been left with no option but to give en mass resignation which we know is the only solution to save our lives,” the letter read.
It comes in the backdrop of strong protest by the Pandits against the killing of Bhat, who was gunned down by terrorists in Kashmir’s Budgam district.
The members of the community left their transit camps, blocked roads and raised slogans against the government, saying they have failed to give security to them.
Around five thousand Kashmiri Pandits are living in transit camps in various parts of Kashmir after they were given government jobs under a special employment package launched in 2010.
Chanting anti-establishment slogans, the protestors said they had informed the administration and police that LG should visit the spot and give us assurance about our protection and ensure culprits involved in the killing of Bhat won’t be spared.
The protestors said a tehsildar’s office is meant to be a secure place. “Terrorists pierced bullets in his body in office and you see the gravity of the situation,” the protestors said. “The entire system that includes security and safety has collapsed,” they added.
The protesting Pandits said that if the administration can lathi-charge and fire tear gas on the public, then could they not have caught the terrorist yesterday?
Reports of protests against murder were also received from Anantnag, Shopian, Qazigund, Baramulla and Handwara in the Kupwara district. Protestors were going on when this report was being filed.
Police said here that some miscreants among the protestors pelted stones at the police forcing the cops to use mild force to quell the protestors. “The situation is under control at present,” an official said.