Authorities in South Kashmir’s Shopian said that no exodus of Kashmiri Pandits had taken place from the district but the members of the minority community, who have since been camping in Jammu, ruled out that they have any plan to return to the valley.
While a verified Twitter handle of the Information and Public Relations department of Shopian claimed that the news about leaving of “Kashmiri non migrant Hindu population" as “baseless", Ashwani Kumar Bhat, whose brother Puran Krishan Bhat was gunned down by terrorists on October 16, told reporters in Jammu that he has migrated and will never return to the valley.
The authorities claimed on Twitter that “proper and robust security arrangements have been kept in place by the administration in the village. Even at other pockets of Kashmiri non migrant Hindu habitations and villages, similar security arrangements are in place". Puran Krishan Bhat was killed by terrorists in Choudharygund area of Shopian at a place which had a minority police picket at 20 metres and an army camp nearby.
The deceased’s brother said, “We have migrated from there. I will never return. I swear by my children, I will not return till the last breath of my life". Pointing towards his children, he said neither he will return to Kashmir nor allow his children to go there. “I have one hundred kanals (five hectares) of land there but I will never go back. Will I go there to die?" he asked.
Bhat, who saw his brother dying in front of his eyes, said he will quit his government job but will not go back. “I do not need anything", he said. Bhat slammed the administration over their statement of deployment of police guards to protect them and said “when killing of Sunil Kumar took place in Chatigam, we went to the SP of Shopian - who is a woman and Major Sahib (of the nearby army camp). We urged them to keep visiting our village - one time a day. Nobody helped us- nobody came here".
The brother was seen airing his views on various television channels. Like him, another Choudharygund resident, who did not wish to be named, said he has left the harvested apples in the compound of his house as life is precious.
“God saved me as they wanted to hit me too. They had come back to my school a few days ago, but I was not there", he said. Another woman, who also shifted to Jammu, said they were living in fear.
The nephew of the deceased said while authorities were making claims that adequate security arrangements had been made for the minorities, the “situation was totally different on the ground".
As terrorists carried out a number of killings recently, 10 Kashmiri Pandit families have left their village in Shopian district out of fear and reached Jammu. The residents of Choudharygund said the recent terrorist attacks have triggered a fear psychosis among the Pandits who lived in Kashmir through the most difficult period of terrorism in 1990s and did not leave their homes.
“Ten families comprising 35 to 40 Kashmiri Pandits have migrated out of our village due to the fear psychosis," a resident of Choudharygund village who faced a death threat recently told PTI.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without any modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.