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Targeted killings: J&K moves staff from minority communities to ‘safer’ locations

Sources in the J&K administration said they would not agree to demands for transfer of minority community employees from Kashmir to Jammu. “

Written by Harikishan Sharma | New Delhi |
Updated: June 4, 2022 7:46:12 am
Union Home Minister Amit Shah with J & K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha and NSA Ajit Doval holds a review meeting on security/law & order situation in Jammu and Kashmir, in New Delhi, Friday, June 3, 2022. (PTI)

Grappling with the spate of targeting killings in Kashmir, the J&K administration has started posting all employees belonging to minority communities, including Kashmiri Pandits, to “safer locations” within the Valley.

In New Delhi Friday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting with J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, NSA Ajit Doval, Army chief General Manoj Pande, R&AW chief Samant Goel, Intelligence Bureau head Arvind Kumar and senior officials to review the security situation in the Union Territory among other issues. It is learnt that the meeting lasted for over an hour and a half.

Sources in the J&K administration said they would not agree to demands for transfer of minority community employees from Kashmir to Jammu. “Any such demand coming from any group of people is actually very, very counterproductive,” sources said, adding that the administration does not “support people leaving the Valley.”

“Can there be transfers to Jammu? No, not at all. If we start transferring them to Jammu… Can we become a facilitator of some kind? No way. The government cannot be part of it… We cannot be part of it,” the sources said, a day after a bank manager hailing from Rajasthan and a brick kiln worker from Bihar were shot dead by suspected militants. On Tuesday, a woman teacher from Jammu was gunned down outside her school in Kulgam in the latest wave of attacks targeting minorities and migrants in the Valley.

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“The spate of targeting killing will definitely stop. It happened last October, we controlled it. It is happening now; we will control it. Because of this we will not facilitate… Then, what would be the difference between the 1990s and now?… Our system will take care of that,” sources said.

Asked about the security of government employees recruited under the Prime Minister’s development package for J&K in 2015, the sources said, “Un sabhi ki posting is waqt safe locations par kar di gayi hai (All of them have now been posted to safe locations). There were about 6,000 people recruited under the PM package, of which over 5,500 have been posted.”

Besides, there are about 10,000 minority (non-Muslim) employees who have also been posted to safe locations, the sources said.

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To a query about Rajani Bala’s letter — the teacher shot dead Tuesday — regarding her posting to a safer location, the sources said that she was about to be posted. “Government is taking every possible step to ensure that everybody is safe. This is a kind of conflict which we have not created. Some people have created it. It will be dealt with and everybody will be safe,” the sources said.

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“Targeted killing is evidence that their (terrorists) ability to strike at more protected targets is very minimal. Therefore, you take out anybody. Today, the targets are Kashmiri Pandits, tomorrow it will be non-local labourers, and another day it will be a government employee who has no protection. This shows the level of desperation,” the sources said.

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Stating that about 2.5 lakh people have registered for the Amarnath Yatra this year, the sources made it clear that the annual pilgrimage will be organised. “Yatra nahin hogi aisa to katai nahin hoga. Hamare hisab se yatra honi chahiye (It cannot be that the pilgrimage is not undertaken. According to us, the pilgrimage should take place,” the sources said, adding that the pilgrimage has been a symbol of the “composite culture” of Kashmir.

Explained

Killings cast shadow

The spate of targeted killings in the Valley has had non-locals in a state of panic. This comes at a time when the ut is gearing for the Amarnath Yatra. Tourists have also been heading to J&K and airlines are mounting flights like never before.

Over 6 lakh people participated in the Amarnath Yatra in 2011-12. In 2019, the Yatra was curtailed and about 3 lakh people took part. About 2.5 lakh people have registered for the Yatra this year, the sources said. “This year we were expecting that more people would come and, therefore, we were preparing for that.”

Listing development works undertaken in the last few years, the sources said that about 3,000 works had been completed under district plans during 2018-19, and this increased almost 12 times to 35,000 in 2021-22. Similarly, the number of works completed under the UT plan increased from about 9,200 to 52,000 in the last financial year, the sources said.

The number of tourists who visited the UT stood at 10 lakh during January-May this year, the sources said.

Asked about applications regarding encroachment of land of Kashmiri Pandits who had migrated from the Valley, the sources said, “We received 7,966 applications on the portal… about 6,5,00 applications have been closed. Roughly 2,500 kanal (12.64 lakh square meter) of land belonging to Kashmiri Pandits have been recovered.”

With inputs from Mahender Singh Manral

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First published on: 03-06-2022 at 05:44:18 pm
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