After 310 days, Kashmiri Pandit employees suspend strike

Kashmir Pandits continue protests, demand relocation

JAMMU — The government employees from Kashmiri Pandit community here on Saturday suspended their strike after over 300 days and said that the future course of action will be decided by the core committee of their association.

The government employees from Kashmiri Pandit community were protesting to demand relocation outside Kashmir, keeping in view the targeted killings.

The leadership of the package employees said that they have suspended their protest due to certain issues, particularly in view of the financial choking of the employees, which has caused great distress among their families.

“For the last many days, the core committee held a number of meetings with the employees and their families. They came to know that employees were in complete chaos and confusion as their issues get multiplied every day. They were in complete distress. The core committee has reached the conclusion and a unanimous decision was taken to suspend the protest,” said All Migrant Employees (Displaced) Association Kashmir in a statement issued to the news agency KNO.

They said that they desperately surrendered before the government as the response of the administration towards their primary demand of relocation remained very cold in the last 310 days of their legitimate struggle.

They said that AMEAK (D) leadership tried their level best in raising the demand of the employees in every nook and corner of the country.

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They held bare feet protest, midnight and full-night protest and also protest in humid and cold conditions but they were not taken seriously by the UT administration. “We have a great regret that the government did not even once try to know our viewpoint,” they said.

They also said that the administration from time to time has issued statements that the genuine demands of package employees will be resolved and in addition, the Lieutenant Governor also gave many statements regarding package employees’ security and therefore it is now up to the government to decide the future of employees.

“We also believe that the government so far has neither rejected our demand nor accepted it. We are hopeful that the government will fulfill its promise of security as claimed by it,” they said.

Last year in May, following the killing of their colleagues Rahul Bhat and Rajini Bala, many employees from the Kashmiri Pandit community also moved to Jammu from the Kashmir division.

While Bhat was shot dead inside his office in central Kashmir’s Budgam on May 12, Bala, a school teacher, was killed in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on May 31 last year.

The employees said the core committee of AMEAK will meet to take a decision about resuming their duties in the Valley.

A senior member of AMEAK, Ruban Saproo told reporters that since Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha had time and again assured a secure atmosphere to them in the Kashmir Valley, the core committee of the organization decided to suspend the agitation and wait for the government’s response.

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Rohit Raina, an AMEAK member, said, “We have only suspended the protest and the next course of action will be decided by the core committee of AMEAK.”

“Our only concern for which we had fled the Valley is our security,” he said, accusing the administration of twisting arms by stopping their salaries.

The killing of Kashmiri Pandit Sanjay Sharma by militants in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 27 reflects the ground situation. “We hope that the government will ensure our security in the Valley,” Raina said.

Neha, who was part of the protest, said they are left with no option but to “surrender” before the government after it “stopped their salaries”.

“We do not feel safe there (in Kashmir) but nobody is listening to us. The government exploited the employees by stopping our salaries and choking us financially,” she said.

RK Bhat, the president of Youth All India Kashmiri Samaj (YAIKS), an organization of Kashmiri Pandits, urged Kashmiri Muslims to come forward to ensure the security of minority Hindus living in the Valley.

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