New Delhi, Jun 1 (PTI) Anguished over the “targeted” killing of many Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday demanded that they should be given adequate security and their voices should not be “quelled”, even as he alleged that the Central government is doing “nothing” for the community.
In an online press briefing, he said that terrorist forces don’t want communal amity in Jammu & Kashmir as members of the Kashmiri Pandit community are being “targeted and killed one by one”, in a reminder of what happened in the 90s.
He also said that 16 Kashmiri Pandits have been killed this year.
Later in a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Officer he was quoted as saying that “Kashmiri Pandits are being murdered one by one”.
“The Central government is doing nothing for the Kashmiri Pandits,” he alleged, asking the Centre to “safely rehabilitate them at all costs”.
Members of the Kashmiri Pandits are “being targeted, being dragged out of their homes and offices, and brutally murdered,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.
“This is absolutely inhuman, and goes against the very tenets of basic humanity, against the values of our nation. Despite the severity of the situation, no authority is coming forward to put a stop to this violence,” the Delhi chief minister said.
When Kashmiri Pandits – our poor brothers and sisters raise their voices against these brutalities, they are locked up in their colonies to curb the agitation, he said.
“I demand Kashmiri Pandits be given adequate security and their voices should not be quelled. They should be allowed to establish their homes in their ‘janmabhoomi’ (birth place),” Kejriwal said.
“It is my appeal to the Centre that to help Kashmiti Pandits settle in Kashmir, we will all have to work together, and we are ready to play whatever role we can,” he said.
In his media briefing, he cited names of government officer Rahul Bhat, Srinagar-based chemist Makhan Lal Bindroo and school teacher Rajni Bala, who have been killed in the Valley in recent time.
Kejriwal said, “Kashmiri Pandits are very distressed right now; all they want from the Centre is protection from terrorists. Innocent Kashmiri Pandits have no safe haven anymore. Those who try to raise their voice against the killing of their loved ones, are met with brutal action to suppress their voices”.
Rajni Bala (36), a government school teacher, was shot dead by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Tuesday.
It was the seventh targeted killing in Kashmir in May. While three of the victims were off-duty policemen, four were civilians.
Protests against Bala’s killing continued to rock several parts of Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts of Jammu and Kashmir on the second consecutive day on Wednesday.
Kejriwal said the ordinary people in Kashmir only pray for a united and peaceful co-existence of all religions in the state. However, the terrorist forces see unity as the biggest threat to their agenda.
“Today, Kashmiri Pandits wish to return to their hometowns in Kashmir, to their ‘janambhoomi’. Where else will they go? Whenever a person leaves their motherland for another place, no amount of advancements and facilities can make up for the loss of one’s home, their soil. There is an immeasurable amount of love and attachment that one has for their ‘janambhoomi’, and that can never be replaced,” he said.
“The current situation has compelled Kashmiri Pandits to negotiate with truck drivers in the Valley in order to move out of Kashmir to Jammu or some other state in order to survive. The same dreadful era of communal killings of the 1990s, is rearing its ugly head again. This is the second time in their lives that Kashmiri Pandits are being forced to flee their homes to stay alive all because the state is unable to ensure basic security for them,” Kejriwal said.
Home Minister Amit Shah will chair a high-level meeting on June 3 to discuss security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the second such exercise in less than a fortnight which comes at a time when terrorists have been carrying out targeted killings in the Valley.