An exodus of Hindus from Kashmir to Jammu has been reported after recent targeted killings in the terror-torn region. A Dainik Jagran report dated October 9 says that 1400 have left Kashmir in a span of 3 days and arrived at Jammu.
70 of these Hindus fled from Mattan in South Kashmir and have come to Jammu. They said that the situation in the valley reminds them of 1990, when over 3.5 lakh Kashmiri Pandits had fled in what constituted the 7th mass exodus of Hindus from the region. The refugees added that 250 government employees were on their way out of Srinagar.
Those who left said that the local administration is trying to stop the exodus but people are scared and not ready to listen to any assurances. Some families have half their members in Jammu, and the rest in Kashmir which is adding to their anxiety.
In total, including those who left from areas of North Kashmir like Kupwara, a total of 1400 Hindus have come to Jammu thus far, the report states. Many families are not speaking out due to security reasons.
This August marked the 2nd anniversary of the removal of Article 370. Under the PM’s rehabilitation package, 3841 Kashmiri Pandits are working in Kashmir, and it is these people who are now feeling insecure after almost a dozen targeted killings of the community in the last one year, including the recent murders of pharmacist ML Bindroo and govt. school teacher Deepak Chand.
On October 7, the teachers present at the Government Boys Higher Secondary School in Srinagar were segregated on basis of their religion and Muslim teachers were allowed to go. The Hindu (Deepak Chand) teacher and Sikh (Supinder Kour) principal were dragged outside and shot at point-blank range.
As per a report in The Hindu, Relief Commissioner A.K. Pandita appealed Hindus not to consider any idea of migration and assured them of “providing full security”. District commissioners in the valley have been directed to reach out to the minority community. Administration has asked Hindu living in designated enclaves in parts of the Valley to restrict their movement for the time being and avoid travelling to ‘volatile pockets’.
It is being said that many shifting to Jammu have opted to take a 10-day leave starting Friday. “I am frightened by the killings of innocent Pandits. We are shifting some of our family members to Jammu for the time being,” a Srinagar-based Kashmiri Pandit teacher, who went on a 10-day leave, said.
Sanjay Tickoo, who heads the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS), a body representing the voices of those who did not migrate from the Valley in the 1990s, said, “Neither those who stayed back since the 1990s nor those who returned to the Valley are feeling secure. Many are leaving out of fear. The condemnation here is nothing but a lip service.”
Journalist and author Rahul Pandita shed some light on possible security lapses behind recent civilian killings.
“A senior source in CRPF claims that of late the Kashmir Police have become complacent about random checks (nakas) and CASO (Cordon and Search Ops) in Srinagar city. This has given a sense of free passage to terrorists and overground terror workers, which showed in the ease with which terrorists spent considerable time in a school in the heart of Srinagar, singling out minority targets. On October 7, the CRPF, without waiting for Police, put up random nakas at over 50 places in Srinagar to send a strong message to terrorists. The Police have now “woken up,” the source says, promising cooperation in this matter.”
Unless the government steps in right now to tighten security, hit back at terror sponsors in Pakistan, and work to instill confidence amongst Hindus, all the good work done after abrogation of Article 370 might go down the drain.