Hundreds of Pandit families flee Kashmir in dead of night; Amit Shah holds high-level meet : The Tribune India

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Hundreds of Pandit families flee Kashmir in dead of night; Amit Shah holds high-level meet

Two non-locals hurt in Shopian grenade attack

Hundreds of Pandit families flee Kashmir in dead of night; Amit Shah holds high-level meet

Kashmiri Pandit families return to Jagti Migrant Camp in Jammu in the wake of killing of employees by terrorists in Kashmir valley. PTI



Samaan Lateef

Srinagar/New Delhi, June 3

Shaken by a spate of targeted civilian killings, hundreds of Kashmiri Pandit families left transit camps in the Valley in the dead of night on Thursday while a high-level meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi today reviewed the security situation in Kashmir.

The transit camps looked deserted on Friday as hundreds of fear-stricken employees escaped to Jammu. At the highly guarded Sheikhpora transit camp in Budgam, which used to house nearly 400 migrant families, only 30 families stayed back to sort out school-related issues of their children. Some families hired taxis while many went in their own vehicles, leaving behind a deserted colony.

“The 30 remaining families which will also soon leave have managed to get the approval of the school administration to allow their kids to attend online classes,” said Ashwini Pandita, a PWD engineer. The MHA meeting convened today in the wake of nine targeted killings since May 1 was attended by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Army Chief General Manoj Pande and Lt Governor of J&K Manoj Sinha among others. Shah reviewed the overall security situation in J&K with special focus on the safety of Kashmiri Pandits living in the Valley, an MHA official said. The meeting chaired by Shah was the second such exercise in less than a fortnight. Since 2010, nearly 4,500 employees have been appointed under the PM’s special employment scheme for Kashmir Pandit migrants.

Nearly 1,100 employees were living with their families in transit camps while others were living in rented accommodation.

Besides Sheikhpora, similar scenes of migration were witnessed last night at Anantnag, Kupwara and Baramulla transit camps, where over 50 per cent of the families have left.

All employees living in rented accommodation have left for Jammu, said Avtar Bhat, a Kashmir pandit leader. Of the 120 families in the Kupwara camp, more than 100 have left for Jammu.

At Vessu camp in Anantnag, nearly 350 of the 600 families have left. Similarly at Baramulla, over 60 of the 120 families have left, Bhat said.

The Pandits, meanwhile, have accused the government of forcing the employees to migrate en masse.

“My family and I left on Thursday night as no one is safe in the Valley,” said Ashwani Sadhu, an engineer, who along with nearly 400 employees was putting up at Sheikhpora transit camp.

Two non-locals, including a bank manager from Rajasthan, were shot dead by militants in separate attacks in the Valley on Thursday.

Transit camps in Valley deserted
4,500 recruited under PM package since 2010
3,400 lived in rented accommodation
1,100 lived in transit camps; 50% have left valley

#ajit doval #amit shah #kashmiri pandit


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