Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday said Kashmiri Pandit employees are suffering because the BJP is not willing to change its “everything is alright in Kashmir” narrative. The former chief minister urged Lt Governor Manoj Sinha to mitigate the sufferings of the people rather than spending huge amounts of money on “PR exercises to propagate normalcy" in Jammu and Kashmir.
“We should not sacrifice Kashmiri Pandits and let us do whatever possible to provide them relief,” the former chief minister told reporters here. She said several delegations from a cross-section of society, including pandits, farmers, industrialists, retired employees and daily wagers, met her during her stay in Jammu over the last three days and “every one of them is troubled and concerned”.
Recalling her interaction with a delegation of Kashmiri Pandit employees seeking relocation following the target killing of Kashmiri Pandit employee Rahul Bhat, the PDP leader said, “Life is precious for everyone, but the BJP does not want to change its narrative that everything is alright.”
“If pandits are leaving Kashmir, they (BJP) will stand exposed. They (pandits) are being made scapegoats, harassed and forced to return, while those having links with the BJP have already been transferred,” she claimed. Bhat (35), who had got the job of a clerk under the special employment package for migrants in 2010-11, was shot dead by Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists at his office in the Chadoora area of central Kashmir's Budgam district on May 12.
Mufti said her government relocated Kashmiri Pandit employees and provided them 16 months’ salary at their homes due to the unrest back in 2016 even as none of them was targeted. “They returned (to their places of posting in Kashmir) on their own after getting a sense of security,” she said. She said the Kashmiri Pandit employees need to be safeguarded and relocated outside the valley till the security situation improves.
“Most of the pandits are living in private accommodations and are prone to threats under the prevailing situation,” she said. She also urged the administration to desist from forcing them to return to the valley by allegedly withholding their salaries and ration. The PDP leader also highlighted the cancellation of the recruitment process of sub-inspectors, finance accounts assistants and junior engineers in the Jal Shakti Department over alleged irregularities and claimed that farmers from R S Pora and Suchetgarh on the outskirts of Jammu were staring at losses due to failure of the administration to repair irrigation canals.
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