21, Sep 2020
On Sunday, the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS), began its fast-unto-death in Ganpatyaar, located in the Habba Kadal area of Srinagar. The group was forced to take the extreme measure after no action was taken on its last memorandum submitted to the Lieutenant Governor of the Union Territory to provide urgent relief to non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley.
Despite the mass forced exodus of the community from the region in the late 80s and early 90s, 808 families still remain in the Valley, many of whom live amidst abject poverty, some struggling to put food on the table, others scraping by without medicines. Unemployment remains a key concern.
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.
In a statement released, the group said, “Disaster Management Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (DMRR&R) Department is punishing left out (Non-Migrant) Kashmiri Pandits – Kashmiri Hindus for staying back in Kashmir Valley. Since abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A we the Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandits – Kashmiri Hindus living in Kashmir Valley are facing harassment and isolation at the hands of Relief Department. Despite multiple directions from Hon’ble High Court and recommendations from the Central Government through the Ministry of Home Affairs, Relief Department is playing with the life and security of the Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandits – Kashmiri Hindus living in Kashmir Valley.”
The group had been regularly writing to various local authorities, including those of the erstwhile state and subsequently the UT. Non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits had secured a big victory when the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had ruled in favour of making provisions for their employment, way back in 2013. However, despite this nudge from the court, little action had taken place on the ground. KPSS says, “Situations are created like either they sabotage the whole process of Jobs and Rehabilitation of Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandits – Kashmiri Hindus living in Kashmir Valley or we must negotiate under the table deal with the officers / officials of the Relief Department to get the directions of the Hon’ble High Court and recommendations of the Ministry of Home Affairs implemented on the ground zero.”
KPSS president Sanjay Tickoo had also met the LG on August 27 and sought his reassurance. But now, almost three weeks since that meeting, patience is wearing thin. “As such, for the survival of 808 Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandits/Kashmiri Hindus families living in Kashmir Valley, I, Sanjay K. Tickoo, President, KPSS have decided to start Fast-Unto-Death from today i.e. September 20, 2020 against Relief Department for persecution and bureaucratic harassment against Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandits – Kashmiri Hindus for not implementing Hon’ble High Court directions and recommendations issued by Ministry of Home Affairs regarding Job and Rehabilitation of the left out Community who chose to stay back in Kashmir Valley,” said the KPSS president.
KPSS lists the following under its Charter of Demands:
1) KPSS demand Vigilance inquiry against the officers/officials of the Relief Department for deliberately stalling and sabotaging Relief and Rehabilitation of Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandits – Kashmiri Hindus living in Kashmir Valley and misusing their official positions to harm Kashmiri Pandits – Kashmiri Hindus living in Kashmir Valley.
2) Implementation of Hon’ble High Court directions and recommendations of the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding Jobs to the unemployed educated Kashmiri Pandit/Kashmiri Hindu youths.
3) DMRR&R deliberately delayed the process by more than four years as such give one-time age relaxation to all the over-age candidates’ w.e.f. 31.05.2016 (date of the judgment passed by Hon’ble High Court in OWP 1986/2013 titled Kashmiri Pandit Sangarash Samiti and others Vs. Union of India and others)
4) Easy and stress-free process of providing Bonafide Certificates to all the aspirants (Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandits / Kashmiri Hindus) as per SRO 425 dated 10.10.2017.
5) Monthly Financial Aid to 808 Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandit – Kashmiri Hindu families living in Kashmir Valley
6) Providing accommodation to all deserving Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandit – Kashmiri Hindu families living in Kashmir Valley as per recommendations of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
7) Extension of benefits of Migrant Welfare Fund to the Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandits – Kashmiri Hindus living in Kashmir Valley.