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This time, don’t know who is behind gun: Pandit families who stayed back in ’90s

“I still live in my ancestral house. Both my parents lived here until they passed away, and now I live here with my wife and two kids,” the 51-year-old said.

Written by Naveed Iqbal | Srinagar |
Updated: June 4, 2022 8:18:10 am
Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, Indian Express, India news, current affairs, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India News“The difference now is that neither the person behind, nor in front of the weapon is clear,” Pajnoo said. Representational image

Susheel Pajnoo has noticed police vehicles making extra rounds as he leaves his house in Srinagar’s Nawakdal in the morning. His wife, who works as a librarian in a government school, has also sensed enhanced security presence in the area. “We got a call from someone in the authorities one evening after the recent killings began. They asked my wife if she wished to be transferred. She flatly refused. We are home and we are fine,” Pajnoo said.

Pajnoo’s family is one of the few that remained in Kashmir even after many members of their community left the Valley in the 1990s. “I still live in my ancestral house. Both my parents lived here until they passed away, and now I live here with my wife and two kids,” the 51-year-old said.

Amid the spate of targeted attacks against minorities in different parts of the Valley, Kashmiri Pandits who did not leave in the 1990s drew comparisons with the fear the community faced in that decade. But they also underlined a difference.

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“The difference now is that neither the person behind, nor in front of the weapon is clear,” Pajnoo said.

Not just Kashmiri Pandits, but non-local daily wage workers, a non-local bank employee and a Muslim artiste are among the victims of recent targeted killings.

According to Pajnoo, he and his neighbours feel that by having stayed back in Kashmir, they became a part of the milieu, and that is why they feel safe here.

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A member of the Kashmiri Pandit community in Habba Kadal, who did not want to be named, said, “Of course, any episode like this (targeted attacks) will set you back a little and the conversation in our homes that day may change, but overall, this is home.”

On Friday, the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS), an organisation of Kashmiri Pandits residing in the Valley, sent representations to the Chief Justice of the Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court urging the courts to intervene and take cognisance of the attacks against minorities.

The KPSS has also sought investigation into all the targeted killings that happened since June 8, 2020, and urged that and all officers and officials whose “involvement/lapse is in the preliminary allegations be suspended without any further delay and an SIT (special investigation team) be constituted to submit its report within stipulated time monitored by the Hon’ble High Court”.

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First published on: 04-06-2022 at 04:07:50 am

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