Attacks on Kashmiri Pandits increase after killing of Burhan Wani

Srinagar Updated: Jul 14, 2016, 02:16 PM(IST)

The Kashmiri Pandit community staged a protest today demanding they be shifted to Hindu-majority Jammu district. Photograph:( AFP )

The Pandit community in Kashmir Valley of India staged a protest today demanding a shift to Jammu district till normalcy returns in the violence-hit region.

Attacks on the Kashmiri Pandits, the minority Hindus in the Valley, have increased after armed forces shot to death a top militant commander, Burhan Wani, on July 8. 

Many Pandit migrants are posted across the valley under the Prime Minister Special Employment Package. Most of them stay in transit camps.

Post Wani's death, the Valley has been rocked by violent protests. At least 37 people have been killed and about 1,500, including members of the security forces, have been injured in clashes. Curfew is in force for the sixth day.

Mobs have also taken to pelting stones at migrants living in camps at Vessu and Mattan regions in Anantnag district, among others.

Some Pandits managed to escape and reached Jammu, where they shouted slogans demanding proper security.

"A mob pelted stones at our camp, at our home and other camps as well. Burhan died and the mob pelted stones at us, someone else will die and then again the mob will throw stones at us. So we don't want to go there and work," said a protestor, Sulekha Kaul.

Relief Commissioner R.K. Pandita assured them all help possible.

"We have employees posted in different locations in Kashmir Valley who have been appointed under PM's package. Today these employees, some numbering 400 to 500 employees, they met me in my office and were alleging that there has been stone pelting on their various transit locations and I have asked them to give me a memorandum which I will be forwarding to government for appropriate action," said Pandita.

According to officials, there are 1,673 migrant Pandit employees in the Valley and 1,040 live in camps.

Violence in Kashmir has spiked against a backdrop of rising social tension and separatist sentiment in the Muslim-majority region, which for decades has been at the centre of a strategic tussle between India and Pakistan.

India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over Kashmir, which they both claim in full but rule in part.

India accuses Pakistan of training and arming the rebels in the portion it controls and sending them to the Indian side, a claim its neighbour denies.

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