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Budgam incident: Massive protests held across Kashmir; KP’s threaten mass resignation if killings continue

SRINAGAR: Migrant Kashmiri Pandits (KPs), majority of them government employees working under Prime Minister’s Rehabilitation Package, Thursday hit roads at various places across Kashmir to register their protest against the killing of their colleague Rahul Bhat at Chadoora, Budgam.

The protestors also blocked the Srinagar-Jammu highway outside Vessu migrant KP colony, Qazigund in Anantnag district to protest against the killings. They also lit candles to register their protest.

One of the protesters said that the migrant KPs were being targeted earlier and now during the BJP rule as well. “If rehabilitation costs life, we will prefer to resign enmass and flee Kashmir forever,” he said, wishing not to be named. “We are being made soft targets by militants. Militants should also clear their policy. If they are out to kill all of us, they should tell us clearly. But the fact remains that the government has failed to protect us despite making tall claims.”

The protestors blocked the Srinagar-Jammu national highway at Qazigund leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded for hours. A massive protest was also held at Sheikhpora, Budgam outside the migrant KP colony where women and male members of the Pandit community sat on the middle of the road in protest against the killing of Rahul Bhat, a KP employee, who shot dead by militants while he was on duty at Tehsil office Chadoora, Budgam.

A woman protestor, amid wails and shrieks, said that they have not come to Kashmir to get killed. “Is this rehabilitation BJP has promised us? We don’t want this rehabilitation. Police must nab the killers of Rahul. We also want to know why militants are killing us,” she said while others tried to console her.’

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Vijay Kumar visited Sheikhpora, Budgam to express solidarity and sympathy with the fellow colleagues of the slain employee. However, the protestors insisted him to bring Divisional Commissioner Kashmir to the spot.

“Why are these killings taking place. Who are Kashmir Tigers, and why are they killing us,” a woman protester asked the Kashmir police chief. “If they want to kill us, why don’t they kill us all in one go.”

Another protestor said that the BJP government has miserably failed to protect the migrant KPs brought back in the name of the rehabilitation package of PM Narendera Modi. Many protestors alleged that the killing of Rahul Bhat at Tehsil office Chadoora, was a major security lapse. “How come militants managed to enter the Tehsil office and kill Rahul,” they questioned.

Another massive protest was held along the Pulwama-Shopian highway outside KP migrant colony Nikas. “Fail Hai, Fail Hai, administration fail Hai” slogans were raised by the protestors. They said they would protect employees working under the PM’s package. “Government strengthen our security cover so that no such killing takes place in future,” the protestors said. Protests were also reported from northern district of Baramulla where Pandit members assembled at Pandit Colony Veerwan, who demanded justice and protection to KPs working under PM’s package—(KNO)


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