SRINAGAR: Thirteen Kashmiri Pandit families, who migrated from a village in south Kashmir amid ‘targeted’ killings of members of their community, demanded on Monday that the administration register them as “migrants”.
Of the 13 families comprising 43 members, 10 had left Choudharygund village in Shopian district and reached Jammu on October 26. The remaining three had reached the city earlier.
“We have submitted a joint application to the office of relief and rehabilitation commissioner at Jammu for registration of the 13 families as migrants in the wake of migration from the valley to Jammu,” said V J Kaul, a representative of the families.
He said they have left their village out of insecurity and it is up to the government to provide them registration. Puran Krishan Bhat was gunned down by terrorists outside his ancestral house in Choudharygund village on October 15.
In the application, the families said they had migrated to Jammu following Bhat’s killing in broad daylight.
“The incident of brutal killing compelled us to leave our native village to save our lives. We, the residents of Choudharygund, bore the brunt of militancy and shared agonies with our brethren for the last 32 years but killing of Bhat compelled us to leave the valley,” they said.
They said prior to Bhat’s killing, a government primary school was attacked but fortunately three teachers belonging to the minority community had a narrow escape. On the same day, a letter was circulated on social media by jihadi groups which threatened Kashmiri Pandits to leave Kashmir or face similar consequences, the families said on the application.
“We are not prepared to live there in danger and shifted to Jammu with our families. Our parents, wives and young kids are in trauma after this horrible incident of killing.
“We made a lot of sacrifices in order to be able to stand there holding the tricolour. Considering the aforementioned details, we hope that your office would register us as migrants just like any other migrant,” the application said.
On Thursday, authorities in Shopian had attempted to put on a brave face by claiming that no exodus of Kashmiri Pandits had taken place from the district.
The members of the minority community, who have since been camping in Jammu, ruled out having any plan to return to the Valley.
A verified Twitter handle of the Information and Public Relations department of Shopian had claimed that the news about leaving of “Kashmiri non-migrant Hindu population” was “baseless”.
However, Ashwani Kumar Bhat, whose brother Puran Krishan Bhat was gunned down, had told reporters in Jammu that he has migrated and will never return to the valley. (PTI)