Kashmiri Pandit Employees Reiterate Relocation Demand

Members of All Migrants Employees Association Kashmir raise slogans during a protest, in Jammu on Monday| PTI photo

Jammu- Kashmiri Pandit employees on Monday staged another protest demonstration here, reiterating the demand for their relocation outside the Valley till peace is restored there.

Hundreds of employees, both men and women, assembled under the banner of ‘All Migrant Employee Association Kashmir’ outside the Press Club carrying placards, some of which read, “Don’t rehabilitate us at the cost of our blood! Orphaning our children! Widowing our wives! and the only solution is relocation anywhere outside Valley.”

Nearly 4,000 Kashmiri Pandits are working in different departments in the Valley after they were selected under the Prime Minister’s employment package announced in 2008.

The package has two major components – one pertains to the provision of 6,000 jobs for youth and another to 6,000 accommodation units for the employees.

“Our protest is part of the ongoing agitation for our relocation from the Valley as we are not feeling safe there. We have reached Jammu while our colleagues are still on protest in the Valley for the last 31 days,” one of the protesters Shweta Bhat said.

“We are working on the field, feeling depressed and unable to concentrate on our work with a fear in mind,” Bhat said, rejecting the government assurance of relocation to safer places within the Valley.

She said the protesting employees will not buy the “government lollipops” as “our lives are at stake”. “Let the government relocate us anywhere outside the Valley till the situation becomes normal,” she added.

Bhat said while all those living in rented accommodations have reached Jammu, those staying living in government accommodations are locked in transit camps where they are continuing their protest.

Another protester Ajay Kumar said, “We are employees and are ready to serve, but the situation is not conducive for us. We will return when the government announces that Kashmir has become terrorism-free.”

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