What is our crime? Why are terrorists killing us, ask KPs
Kashmiri Pandit protesting against the killing of Rahul Bhat in Srinagar's Press enclave on Saturday. Habib Naqash for Greater Kashmir

What is our crime? Why are terrorists killing us, ask KPs

Protests continue for 3rd day; Entry, exit points of KP transit camps sealed

Srinagar: While protests against the killing of Rahul Bhat, a Kashmiri Pandit, continued for the third consecutive day across Kashmir on Saturday, authorities sealed entry and exit points of various Kashmiri Pandit transit camps in the Valley.

Even as Kashmiri Pandits are furious about Bhat’s killing, authorities on Saturday locked the gates of Pandit transit camps at some places. The Kashmiri Pandits were not allowed to come out, fearing they might hit streets to protest the murder of Rahul.

The community has questioned the locking of doors and teargas shelling on their protest processions by the police on Friday.

The KP protests have been taking place despite assurance by the J&K Government. On Friday evening, a series of posts on the Twitter handle of Lieutenant Governor office promised a job for Bhat’s wife, financial assistance for the family and educational expenses for their daughter. “A decision has been taken to constitute (a) special investigative team to probe all the aspects of the despicable terror attack. The SHO of the concerned police station has also been attached,” one of the Tweets from the LG said.

However, residents of the Sheikhpora camp in Budgam continued their protest on Saturday and claimed that the police had “locked them inside the colony” to contain the unrest.

A large number of Kashmiri Pandit community members also staged protests at the Press Enclave here. They were shouting pro-justice slogans. They termed tear gassing of protestors as unfortunate. “We ask the government, is this rehabilitation? Did they bring us here to get killed? There is no security here," they said, adding that they are in Kashmir for their job and have nothing to do with anything else.

They questioned and said why are terrorists killing them without any pretext. “They must tell us what is our crime?,” they said and added that the administration has failed.

On Friday, Police fired teargas shells and resorted to baton-charge when a group of protesters tried to proceed towards Srinagar Airport. In Budgam, outside the camp housing Pandit government employees in Sheikhpora, protesters had blocked roads. Similar protests were also reported from Anantnag in south Kashmir.

Members of the KP community left their transit camps, blocked roads and raised slogans against the government, saying “they have failed them.”

Over 4000 Kashmiri Pandits are living in transit camps in various parts of Kashmir after they were given government jobs under a special employment package launched in 2010.

Rahul Bhat is the third Kashmiri Pandit to be killed in the past six months by the terrorists. Pertinently, targetted killings in Kashmir started in October last year and victims were mostly migrant workers and Kashmiri Pandits. In October, seven civilians were killed in five days, among them a Kashmiri Pandit, a Sikh and two migrant Hindus.

Meanwhile, Baramulla Police foiled the Kashmiri Pandit employees' attempt to march towards central Kashmir’s Budgam district here on Saturday. The Kashmiri Pandit employees housing at a transit camp at Veervan Baramulla tried to march towards Budgam district to express their solidarity with the PM Package employees, however, a contingent of police did not allow them to come out of the camp.

One of the KP employee’s representative at Veervan Baramulla said that they were planning to visit the Budgam district to express solidarity with the protesting KP employees. However, police did not allow them to venture out of the camp.

“It is extremely sad that we were prevented from consoling our protesting colleagues,” said Avtar Krishan. “Despite our hard efforts even scuffle with the cops we were denied to head for Budgam,” added Avtar Krishan.

The KP employees at Veervan Baramulla are continuing with their protest against the killing of Rahul Bhat, a Kashmiri Pandit employee killed by militants at Tehsil office Chadoora in Budgam district on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a candle light march was organised by Kashmiri Pandits residing at Pandit Colony Sheikhpura in Budgam on Saturday evening

( WITH INPUTS FROM ALTAF BABA IN BARAMULLA)

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