Kashmiri Pandit delegation briefs Rahul Gandhi about targeted killings among issues faced by them
Samba district on Monday, a Kashmiri migrant pandit delegation met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and briefed him about the issues faced by them including “targeted killings” by terrorists and the resultant protest by those employed under a prime minister’s package.
“We had a very good interaction with Gandhi and we briefed him about the issues of the community, especially the prime minister’s package employees who were provided jobs by the previous UPA government led by Manmohan Singh. They are on protest over the past six months in Jammu and their salaries have been withheld,” PTI quoted social activist Amit Koul, who was part of the delegation, as saying.
Koul also said they have invited Rahul Gandhi to their Jagti township along the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and that he is likely to visit the community on his way to Kashmir.
As many as 4,000 Kashmiri migrant pandits are working in different departments in the valley after their selection under the prime minister’s employment package announced in 2008. The package has two major components — 6,000 jobs for the youth from the community and building as many accommodation units for the recruited employees.
However, several employees fled to Jammu after one of their colleagues, Rahul Bhat, was shot dead by terrorists inside his office in Budgam district on May 12, 2022, in what was described as a case of targeted killing. They are on a strike demanding their relocation out of the Valley.
“We also raised other issues of the community including the need for enhancement of relief. We requested him to visit our township Jagti or send a delegation but he assured that he will visit Jagti himself and raise their issues within and outside Parliament,” Koul told PTI.
Jitendra Kachroo, another Kashmiri Pandir, said he has come all the way from from Uttar Pradesh, where he has settled after migrating from Kashmir, to meet Rahul Gandhi. “He (Gandhi) is a very nice human being and a very simple person. He patiently heard our issues and it was heartwarming that he had time to listen to us,” Kachroo added.
Charging the BJP with using the community to further its political agenda, Kachroo said, “They do not really mean to solve the problems of the Kashmiri pandits because for them it is a political agenda for them to spread hate on the basis of religion.”
“We used to live together in Kashmir — both Muslims and Hindus — as we share culture, dressing, and even surnames. There was never such a type of atmosphere, and we all were living together (before the eruption of militancy and migration of the community,” he added.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had during his two-day visit to Jammu in September, 2021 said that Jammu & Kashmir has a special place in his heart since he is a Kashmiri Pandit. “My family is a Kashmiri Pandit family. A delegation of Kashmiri Pandits met me today. They said the BJP has done nothing for them while the Congress had implemented many welfare schemes for them,” the Congress leader had said. The former Congress president had promised that he will do something for his “Kashmiri Pandit brothers”.Related: