Threats to Kashmiri Pandits living in North Kashmir

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Jammu and Kashmir

Little is known about Lashkar-e-Islam and that is why their recent fireworks in Kashmir have made them a popular name in a short span of time. These attacks reek of a pattern that is so similar to the coordinated attacks in the 1990s that the community of Kashmiri Pandits has gone into a state of nervous agitation. The Kashmiri Pandits in discussion are employees recruited under the Prime Minister’s employment package and are the one’s posted in Handwara, Baramulla, Pattan and Sopore. The community fears that the militants may target them next, forcing their exodus from the Valley. The community says that the youth, particularly female teachers were feeling uneasy about the developments in the Valley during the last few weeks. Some of the minority community members are on a leave and are back in Jammu waiting for the situation to look more welcoming.

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In the last 10 days, militants blew a Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) mobile tower and killed two persons who owned the property on which a mobile tower was installed. This happened in Sopore and the threat posters that surfaced before and after the killings have forced the Telecom companies to stall their services in absence of ample security. Most of the valley is paraplegic after the stoppage of mobile services and the worst sufferers are businesses which ne*ed to constantly communicate.

The previous Prime Minister, Mr. Manmohan Singh had announced a 1600 Crore Package in 2008 for the relief and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits and this package included employment for the displaced community. The package managed to lure almost 2500 Kashmiri Pandit youth who now say that they are not sure if coming to Kashmir for work was a good idea.

Youth belonging to the minority maintain that the recent and frequent waving of Pakistan flags in Kashmir does not bode a good omen and it is shocking how the Government of India has barely opposed these anti-national activities. The Kashmiri Pandits are shaken by the recent violent events and whether the fears will vaporize or actually be realised remains to be seen. The fact remains that the fear is real and the recent events are bound to shake a community that saw mass killings and a complete exodus from their homeland.

What should not be forgotten is that even in 1989 and 1990, communication lines were the first to be cut!