Kashmiri Pandit leader on fast-unto-death

Pic: Mubashir Khan/GK

Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS) President Sanjay Tickoo is on a fast-unto-death at the historic Ganpatyar temple in old Srinagar city for the rights of the non-migrant Pandit community of Kashmir.

Speaking to IANS, Tickoo said that the promises of government jobs for the Pandits who did not leave the valley have remained unfulfilled.

He said they had filed a case in 2013 in the High Court for inclusion of non-migrant Pandits in the Prime Minister’s rehabilitation package for Kashmiri Pandits.

“The court gave directions asking the Centre and the State to consider our demands,” he said. “We were included in the PM’s package for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits.”

He said a quota of 500 government jobs was kept for non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits under SRO 425 but the process has been stalled without any reason.

“The recommendation from the Centre and the state are not being implemented,” he said. “We demand government jobs for non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits in a time-bound manner.”

He said there is a sense of disappointment among the community as most job aspirants are approaching the over age limit.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted: “808 Kashmiri Pandit families stayed back in the Valley. Over the years they migrated to Srinagar. Their demands aren’t being met and now Sanjay Tickoo is on fast-unto-death. KP families who braved militancy and upheld the syncretic traditions of Kashmir are being neglected. Tragic.”

There was a mass migration of Kashmiri Pandits after militancy erupted in Kashmir in the early 1990s. Most of them settled in Jammu and Delhi. However a total of 808 Pandit families stayed on in Kashmir and did not migrate.