Country should stop seeing killings in Kashmir on the basis of religion: LG Manoj Sinha

"The country should stop seeing this issue on the basis of religion. A lot of other people have also been killed"
LG Manoj Sinha
LG Manoj SinhaImage source: J&K Information Department

Srinagar, Dec 26: Lieutenant Governor, Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha has said that the people in the rest of the country should stop seeing killings of Kashmiri Pandits on the basis of religion as people from other faiths have also been killed in the valley, a media report said today.

“Ye suchh hai ki kuchh durbhagyapurn ghatnayen hui hain aur kayi Kashmiri Pandit lakshit humlon ke shikar hue hain, lekin ek dusra paksh bhi hai. Ise dharm ke aadhaar par dekhne ki koshish desh ko band kar deni chahie. Kafi sankhya mein dusre log bhi maare gaye hain. (It is true some Kashmiri Pandit became victims of targeted killings. But there is another side too… The country should stop seeing this issue on the basis of religion. A lot of other people have also been killed,” he said at the Idea Exchange, reported The Indian Express.

Mr Sinha said that a false narrative was being spread over the killings. “I want to say that people from the Kashmir valley are also killed. There are also labourers who come from Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand during the apple season. There were two-three incidents, but a (false) narrative is spread,” he said.

“There are a few people who describe them as locals or outsiders… We shouldn’t get into this. People who are residents (domicile) believe they (labourers) have a huge role to play in the UT’s economy. They have a role in its development. Jammu and Kashmir is a part of India. Anybody can work in any state…they have the right to work here. The same goes for Kashmir. There’s a majority in Kashmir who appreciate this and want other people to come and work. We also take care of them (migrants)… push for their insurance. During the apple season, we had guidelines regarding their safety and security – financial and societal,” he said.

The LG said that the the Central government had announced a rehabilitation policy for Kashmiri Pandits. “The first phase entailed 3,000 jobs, 3,000 homes. Same in the second phase. A total 6,000 homes were to be built, but only around 700 houses were completed. When I reached there in August 2020, the jobs proposed in the second phase were not filled, and there were some vacancies from the first phase too. These vacancies were voluntarily kept empty citing some technical issues. Today, I can say that all but 134 posts have been filled,” he said.

He said it was true that without houses, Kashmiri Pandits were facing difficulties. But today, land has been made available for all 6,000 houses, and all tenders for construction, barring two have been completed, he said. “Around 10 days ago, I personally went to two places Baramulla and Bandipura for inspection. 1,200 homes will be given to Kashmiri Pandits in April; by December next, 1,800 more houses will be allotted. A big housing complex is being constructed in Srinagar and it is our priority to finish the work quickly. We hope all 6,000 houses would be completed soon,” he said.

Speaking on targeted killings of Kashmiri Pandits, Sinha said, he could understand their outrage in the Valley. “I was in constant touch with all of the people. I personally met a lot of people and some organisations. I tried to understand their problems. The issues they raised, I am speaking here with great responsibility, I tried solving those issues personally. First, they wanted to relocate to safer places. Slowly we have managed to post people in the district headquarters. Now if the employee is from the rural development department, he cannot be posted in the city. So, he is posted in the village neighbouring the district headquarters. A few are in the tehsil headquarters but the police had said it is secured,” he said.                           

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