399 Pandits killed since 1990: KPSS

Srinagar, June 19: Kashmir Pandit Sangharsh Samiti, an organization of Kashmiri Pandits, Sunday said that 399 Pandits have been killed in Kashmir since 1990.
 Contradicting official figures that 219 persons from the minority community have been killed, the Samiti alleged that the figures have been tampered with.
 “As per our data, 399 Pandits have been killed in the past 20 years,” said the KPSS president,
 Sanjay Tickoo. “An estimated 75 percent from this were killed during the first year of armed insurgency in 1990.”
 Tickoo was briefing media persons in Srinagar.
 He said the figures were based on a survey carried out by the Samiti in 2008 and 2009 “to find out the exact number of Pandits killed since 1990.” “The survey revealed that 302 Pandits were killed in 1990 alone,” Tickoo said. “In our estimation, the overall number of Pandits killed in 20 years of insurgency in Kashmir would be around 650.”
 The Samiti figures contradict government data which says “219 Kashmiri Pandits were killed by militants since 1989 while 24,202 families were among the total 38,119 families which migrated out of the Valley due to turmoil.”
 Tickoo said: “The authorities put the number killings of the majority community at 42,000 while the civil society puts it at 72,000. So it means they have tempered with the data not only of the majority community but of minority community as well.”
 The KPSS said they are in the process of compiling more data on the killings. “Our list is still incomplete and more names are expected to be added to it,” Tickoo said.
 Referring to a rightwing Pandit organisation which put the number of killings of minority members at 3000, Tickoo said it was propaganda. “We do not agree with this propaganda from outside that 3000 to 4000 Pandits were killed in Kashmir,” he said.
 Tickoo also demanded that every single killing should be investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation. “We want that every single case pertaining to the minority community should be handed over the CBI for investigation to bring the guilty to justice,” Tickoo said.
 Meanwhile, KPSS held two-day special prayers at the historic Sheetleshwar Bhairav temple.