09, Jul 2018 | CJP Team
There are growing concerns about the safety of over 800 Kashmiri Pandit families living in J&K. Sanjay Tickoo, the president of the Kashmiri Pandit Sangarash Samiti (KPSS), a Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) partner organisation, has written to the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Narinder Nath Vora, regarding recent events like the assassination of Shujaat Bukhari, a Kashmiri journalist who was the editor of Rising Kashmir, as well as the emergence of a concerted online hate campaign that threatens the well-being of the non-migrant Kashmiri Pandit community.
According to the letter, dated July 2, 2018, days prior to Bukhari’s murder, a hate campaign had appeared on a blog, kashmirfight.wordpress.com; the letter says that “the security agencies believe that there is a link between the assassination of Shri. Syed Shujat Bukhari and the blog and till date it is not confirmed who actually runs this blog and from which place”. The letter emphasises that the KPSS is of the strong belief that “this blog is more like a hit list of the 1990’s which were made by the militants to execute the killing of common men and women,” and notes that following Bukhari’s assassination, two other journalists’ names appeared on the blog, along with news indicating the journalists’ lives were under threat.
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The letter states that on June 28, 2018, it was found that the blog had a list with “some misleading and frivolous claims,” and that two Kashmiri Pandit names featured in this list. One was that of Tickoo himself, and the other was one Vijay, a government employee working at the State High Court in Srinagar. Although this issue was brought to the attention of the security agencies at all levels, the letter says that they has no knowledge regarding steps that are being taken to protect their lives. It says that on June 30, 3018, Tickoo and another “victim” of the blog attempted to meet Hurriyat leader Shri. Syed Ali Shah Geelani at Hyderpora to discuss the blog and the threat they perceive, but were not permitted to by the concerned Police Officers.
Tickoo’s letter notes the irony regarding the non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits’ fragile situation, saying, “neither have we been made aware about what State Security Agencies are doing in this regard nor they allow us to take necessary precautions to safeguard our lives.” It says, “If anything untoward happens to us or our family members, the onus for the same will also lie on the Security Agencies working in Kashmir because of their callous approach on the issue.”
The letter appeals to the Governor that Kashmir Pandits under threat be informed about action being taken by security agencies to protect their lives, and that the concerned police station, i.e. P/S Kral Khud, be directed to register the required FIR against unknown individuals and launch investigations to catch the culprit posthaste. It also notes that a formal communication was faxed days prior, seeking an appointment to discuss issues regarding the non-migrant Kashmiri Pandit community in Kashmir, and asks that it be prioritised.
The complete letter may be read here: