23, Nov 2020 | CJP Team
On Sunday, November 22, members of the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS) went on a hunger strike for the second time in three months. KPSS president Sanjay Tickoo is fasting alongside another member Sandeep Koul.
They are demanding the implementation of various government schemes related to providing employment and economic relief to members of this extremely marginalised and impoverished minority community in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
CJP stands with the KPSS in seeking an immediate redressal of all grievances, jobs for 600 non-migrant KP youth in the Valley, a monthly cash relief package for the most needy families, and preservation of cultural and religious sites in the Valley. Join CJP in this campaign as we stand with the Kashmiri Pandit community in Jammu and Kashmir. To help us advocate for their safety and rights, please donate generously here.
At present there are 808 non-migrant Kashmiri Pandit families living in over 240 locations, mostly in makeshift facilities or refugee camps amidst poverty and squalor in the Valley. At least 150 of these are low-income families who fall below poverty line (BPL). Most struggle for basic expenses like food and medicine.
Security that was earlier provided to members of the community has now been withdrawn and Kashmiri Pandit families, especially vocal community leaders are now left to their own devices to protect themselves. Nearly 600 youth are unemployed. While they had earlier qualified for employment schemes of the government, a delay in implementation of the schemes led close to 100 of them becoming ineligible due to crossing age restrictions.
The KPSS is demanding not only financial aid, but also swift implementation of government employment schemes. CJP has been supporting KPSS, which is it partner organisation, in their quest for Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley.
In a statement released on the second day of the second fast, KPSS traces the chronology of events stating, “Since June 2020, hundreds of communications have been sent to all the concerned authorities of J&K UT to implement the recommendations of MHA, vide their letter no 12013/6/2014.”
The statement further explained, “On 27th August 2020, a delegation of KPSS met Hon’ble Liutenant Governor at Raj Bhawan, Srinagar, and submitted a detailed memorandum along with copies of recommendations of MHA and the orders passed by the Hon’ble High Court in favour of non-migrant Kashmir Pandits /Kashmir Hindus living in the valley. The Hon’ble L.G. assured the delegation that the demands would be taken up on priority as those related to the very survival of 808 Non-Migrant Kashmir Pandit/ Kashmir Hindu families living in Kashmir valley.” But when the UT administration failed to walk the talk, KPSS went on its first fast-unto-death that lasted ten days before they were given assurances in writing and requested to suspend the fast.
However, once again, there appeared to be a reluctance on part of the authorities to move beyond empty assurances. The statement recounts, “On 30th September 2020, the worthy Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, representing the J&K UT Administration, visited the venue of the fast and handed over a written assurance that the memorandum of demands of the Samiti would be placed before the government for consideration on priority and a meeting with KPSS would be organized post haste. On 5th October 2020, a delegation of KPSS met Shri Baseer Khan, Hon’ble Advisor to L.G. in Civil Secretariat, Srinagar. The meeting took place in the presence of the worthy Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar. The Hon’ble Advisor assured us that all our demands would be considered on priority and a final meeting with KPSS would be organized within a week. Since then, we are waiting for the final meeting.”
The entire communication as well as the charter of demands may be read here: