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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Kashmiri Pandits are not safe in Kashmir even today: Kejriwal

Demanding that adequate security arrangements be made so that Kashmiri Pandits, who wish to return to the valley, can do so, Kejriwal said, “A few days ago, a government official, Rahul Bhat, was killed."

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: May 16, 2022 6:55:13 pm
Kejriwal had come under fire from the BJP in March this year after he alleged that BJP leaders were made to put up the posters of the film, The Kashmir Files, across the country.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal condemned the police action against Kashmiri Pandits who were protesting against the killing of Rahul Bhat (35) in Kashmir’s Budgam district and demanded that the responsible officers be suspended.

Demanding that adequate security arrangements be made so that Kashmiri Pandits, who wish to return to the valley, can do so, Kejriwal said, “A few days ago, a government official, Rahul Bhat, was killed. Some terrorists went to his office, asked his name and shot him dead. It seems they had decided that they wanted to target a Kashmiri Pandit. Our army traced and killed two terrorists within 24 hours. But the whole country is worried that why Kashmiri Pandits are not safe in Kashmir even today. Many Kashmiri Pandit youth were sent to Kashmir under a special package. They wanted to live and work there peacefully. It is their home, and they wanted to build a life there. After this incident, they are scared. They were protesting to express their anger at the killing but they were stopped. Tear gas shells were fired and a lathi charge was carried out on protesters. They were locked inside their colony. Why? This is not right,” the Chief Minister said.

Bhat, a revenue department official at the tehsil office in Chadoora, was killed on Thursday. He was staying in a government accommodation at Sheikhpora village in Budgam district with his wife and a 6-year-old daughter. The accommodation was constructed for Kashmiri Pandit employees under a central government scheme. Bhat was appointed under this scheme in 2011, and his first posting was in Budgam. He was transferred to Chadoora tehsil two years ago.

Police said two militants were involved in the attack, and that Bhat was shot point blank with a pistol. The killing triggered protests in several parts, including Qazigund, Pulwama, Budgam, Gandebal and Baramulla. The police fired tear gas shells at protesters in Budgam as they tried to block the Budgam-Srinagar highway.

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“The officers who did it should be suspended. This is not the time for politics. This is not about politics but about the country. Kashmiri Pandits want security. Their families and their people are not feeling secure there. If they are not going to be safe there, then how will Kashmiri Pandits living in other parts of the country think about going back? On the basis of what promises will they go back to Kashmir, their home? I request the government to make security arrangements, spend as much money as they have to help them return. Don’t beat protesting Kashmiris. We have to embrace them, they are our own, tear gas shells should not be fired at them. Terrorists and enemies of the country should understand that even if they look at Kashmiri Pandits with the intent to harm, the country will not forgive them. Today, Kashmiri Pandits are settled across the country, including in Delhi. We all have to ensure their security and help them return to their homes. The whole nation stands with them,” said Kejriwal.

Kejriwal had come under fire from the BJP in March this year after he alleged that BJP leaders were made to put up the posters of the film, The Kashmir Files, across the country. He had called the film ‘false’ and had said the filmmakers had exploited the tragedy of the Kashmiri Pandit exodus to mint money instead of helping the community. The Delhi government had refused to make the movie free in Delhi, and had instead asked the filmmakers to make it available for free on YouTube.

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