Anantnag/Srinagar: Kashmiri Pandits on Thursday hit the Srinagar-Jammu national highway near Qazigund area of south Kashmir's Anantnag district and several other districts to protest the targeted killing of its community.
The protests followed the killing of a Pandit employee, Rahul Bhat working in Tehsil office Chadoora, Budgam.
The protesters included government employees and their family members living at the migrant colony at Vesu-Qazigund.
Chanting slogans they were demanding an end to the targetted killings of the Pandit community.
The protesters alleged the successive governments have failed to protect their lives and their rehabilitation has proved to be a mere gimmick.
“We live under constant fear and are not safe here ,” said one of the protesters RK Bhat. He said no government has been able to settle the Pandits permanently here. They also blamed Pakistan for disturbing the communal harmony in Kashmir.
“This is the challenge for all those Kashmiris who believe in communal harmony, and brotherhood and want to restore the coexistence of secular ideals. Everyone should come out and fight the conspiracy hatched from Pakistan to sow seeds of discord between two communities,” Bhat said.
The government employees of the community also called for an indefinite strike against the targetted killings.
“We are going for an indefinite pen-down strike, unless and until our lives are safeguarded and we feel a sense of security,” Bhat said. He alleged the Pandit killed today "was first asked his name and later shot dead."
Another protesting Kashmir Pandit employee, Sanja Kaul said they were being targetted for none of their faults. “Why are we being targetted. We have come here for earning a livelihood,” Kaul asked.
The protesters have also blocked the Srinagar-Jammu national highway bringing the traffic to halt. Police and civil administration have rushed to the spot to pacify them.
The Pandit community members also took to streets at Mattan along the Khanabal Pahalgam ( KP) road to protest the targeted killing of its community. The protesters included government employees and their family members living in Mattan migrant colony. The traffic on the busy road came to a halt. The tourists heading towards Pahalgam were also stuck.
Protests against the killing of Kashmiri Pandit rocked several other areas of Kashmir on Thursday even as they demanded a complete end to targetted killings. Reports said Kashmir Pandits joined by locals held a protest demonstration at Sheikhpora area of Budgam. They blocked Srinagar-Budgam road and denounced the killing of Rahul. They termed it a targetted killing and demanded an immediate end.
“We are here to earn livelihood and we are being killed without any pretext,” the protestors said. “ The government must provide of security.” The protestors alleged that after several minority killings by terrorist since last October they are concerned about their lives.
Reports of protests were reported from Baramulla, Handwara and other areas of north Kashmir.
A large number of Kashmiri Pandits hit streets in Indira Nagar area of Srinagar on Thursday evening. They raised pro-justice slogans and demanded security for Kashmiri Pandits.
Meanwhile, scores of Kashmiri Pandit employees staged massive protest in Veervan area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Thursday evening. Demanding justice, the aggravated Pandit employees said that killing of the minority community member in broad day light in his office is clear indication that government has failed to provide security to Kashmiri Pandit migrant employees.
The protesting employees said scores of Pandit employees are working in far flung areas and when administration cannot protect employee in a town, how will they provide security to employees working in the far flung areas.
“The administration must take all such measures which can ensure the safety of Pandit employees. We demand justice and end to brutal killing of our brethren,” said one of the protesting Kashmiri Pandit employee.
( With inputs from Altaf Baba in Baramulla)