30, Nov 2020 | CJP Team
The hunger strike by members of the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS) in Jammu and Kashmir completed eight days on Sunday, November 29. KPSS is demanding urgent relief measures for over 800 non-migrant Kashmiri Pandit families that are still living in the Valley.
In a statement released on the occasion, KSS said, “Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandits / Kashmiri Hindus living in Kashmir Valley are facing political as well as administrative isolation since the present government took charge of this part of (the) world. Our melancholic conditions fail to gather attention from the people who are at helm of affairs.”
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.
KPSS added, “We fail to understand that people who claim themselves as “Nationalists” how they can ignore fellow country men who stood for the nation and contributed for the integrity of the Country even during hard times. Worst part of present regime is that people who stood for Nation have to (go) for the Fast-Unto-Death for Survival.”
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Security that was earlier provided to members of the community has now been withdrawn and Kashmiri Pandit families, especially vocal community leaders are now left to their own devices to protect themselves.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.
KPSS had previously gone on a similar hunger strike on September 20, 2020. It was called off after written assurance from Shahid Iqbal Chowdhary, IAS who is the Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, that their demands would be looked into by the administration. But the UT authorities allegedly failed to walk the talk and now KPSS president Sanjay Tickoo, and two other members Sandeep Koul and Bhupender Singh Jamwal are on a hunger strike.
At the end of the sixth day, KPSS had called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene. In an impassioned appeal for compassion, KPSS had said, “Narendra Modi Ji, either implement what you propagate “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas”… or gather all the left out Kashmiri Pandits / Kashmiri Hindus at one place in Kashmir Valley and test firing power of newly purchased Rafale Aircrafts on us and free us from the miserable life.”
The charter of demands is as follows:
- Extension of PM’s Job Package and apportionment of 500 posts / one job per family (preferably) criteria for 808 Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandit / Kashmiri Hindu Families.
- 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 Sanghrash Samiti and others vs. Union of India and others)
- Providing of Accommodation to all deserving Non-Migrant families under PM’s Relief and Rehabilitation Package
- Extension / providing of necessary financial assistance to the 808 Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandit / Kashmiri Hindu families living in Kashmir Valley
- Extension of benefits of Migrant Welfare Fund to the Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandits – Kashmiri Hindus living in Kashmir Valley.
- Constitution of Nodal Agency between UT Government including Relief Department headed by Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir with one member from KPSS Core Committee.
- Protection, Preservation and Restoration of Temples and other religious institutions belonging to the religious minority in Kashmir Valley.