The recent spate of killings in Kashmir has added to the vicious air of tension in the Valley. The hate crimes were committed against government employees and migrant laborers. In the past three months, at least sixteen civilians fell prey to targeted killings. Among the slain individuals, there were ten Kashmiri Muslims and six Hindus.

Among the recent victims were Kashmiri Pandit government employees. For instance on 12th May Rahul Bhat, the clerk at the office of Tehsildar Chadoora in Budgam district was shot dead.

On the 31st of May, Rajni Bala, a government school teacher hailing from Samba district in the Jammu division and posted in Kulgam, also succumbed to fatal gun injuries. Also, Vijay Kumar, a manager at Ellaqui Dehati Bank (EDB) at Areh Mohanpura village in Kulgam, was the target of a terrorist killing.

These deaths have added fear to the hearts of the Kashmiri Pandit community, especially the 4000 migrant employees recruited under the Prime Minister’s special rehabilitation package. The wave of tension has extended to the Hindu employees from Jammu working under the Scheduled Caste (SC) quota and posted in the valley.

A mass exodus has ensued in the past week, as hundreds of Kashmiri Pandit families are fearing for their lives. Panic-stricken people are fleeing to the neighboring state of Jammu. Soon after the killing of Vijay Kumar, some Kashmiri Pandits were reported to have negotiated prices for transit from Kulgam to Jammu. 

According to the Deccan Herald, “We are preparing for mass migration from Kashmir to Jammu and have come to fix up the rate of trucks. The government only gives us false assurances and we can’t take it anymore.”

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Kashmiri Pandits claimed that the present-day situation is far more dangerous as compared to that in the 1990s. “Today’s Kashmir is more dangerous. The most important question is why our people were locked in our colonies. Why administration is hiding their failure,” stated one civilian.

In 1989 some 250,000 Kashmiri Pandits had escaped from the Valley following a killing spree and attacks on their homes. The first killing of a Kashmiri Pandit political leader was seen in 1988, after which government servants and journalists were targeted.

A number of Kashmiri Muslims and National Conference leaders were also terrorized. 19th January 1990 is observed as Exodus Day by the Kashmiri Pandit community, believed to be one of the darkest nights in Jammu and Kashmir.

After the newest alarming spike in killings, the government has issued an order directing 177 Kashmiri Pandit teachers posted in Srinagar to be transferred to safer locations following demands to be relocated. A day before Home Minister Amit Shah had chaired a high-level meeting to tackle the restive situation unfolding in the Union territory.

Many people have criticized the government for inadequate strategies and initiatives to tackle the problem. After the rise in killings, some officials have physically prevented Kashmiri Pandits from leaving the valley. Pandit groups have protested from within housing colonies that they are not being allowed to leave.

Tavleen Singh writes in The Indian Express, “sycophantic paeans have all emphasized that the removal of Article 370 brought peace in the Kashmir Valley and security to India. So, there is a tragic irony that it is at this time that the targeted killings of Hindus in the Valley have increased alarmingly.”

Public responses were seen to be sympathetic to the Pandit community of Kashmir. For instance, members of the Islamic community Raza Academy staged a demonstration on 4th June outside Minara Masjid in Mumbai.

President Muhammad Saeed Noori demanded action against those committing atrocities against the minorities in the Valley, saying the Muslim community stands by the Kashmiri Pandits.

Disclaimer: This article is fact-checked

Sources: The Quint, India Today, Hindustan Times

Image sources: Google Images

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This post is tagged under: Kashmiri Pandit, Kashmiri Pandit community, Kashmiri Pandit exodus, kashmiri pandit exodus day, Domestic terrorism, kashmir civilian killings, targeting civilians, #hatepolitics, hate crime, Hate, minority atrocities, Discrimination Against Minority, minority violence, minority rights, minority communities, minority castes at mercy of majority, govenment policies, Modi government performance, #endviolence, community violence, community riots

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