Srinagar, Dec 26: Admitting to the targeted killings of Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu and Kashmir recently, Lieutenant-Governor Manoj Sinha advised that the country stop viewing it from the lens of religion as people from other communities have also been killed in large numbers.
“It is true some Kashmiri Pandit became victims of targeted killings. But there is another side too… The country should stop seeing this issue on the basis of religion. A lot of other people have also been killed,” Sinha told The Indian Express at the Idea Exchange on Friday.
“There are also labourers who come from Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand during the apple season… There were two-three incidents, but a (false) narrative is spread,” he added.
His comments come in the backdrop of targeted killings of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley. Since 2020, at least seven Kashmiri Pandits were reported to have been killed in the Valley. In October this year, a terrorist had shot dead a 43-year-old Kashmiri Pandit farmer named Puran Krishan Bhat outside his home in Shopian district, which had triggered protests in Jammu.
The Kashmiri Pandits have been protesting in Jammu for the past few months demanding relocation of Kashmiri Pandits government employees from Kashmir to Jammu. The protest started following the killing of revenue clerk Rahul Bhat at the Chadoora tehsil office in Budgam on May 12.
Speaking about the killings, Sinha said that he understood the outrage in the Valley.
“I was in constant touch with all of the people. I personally met a lot of people and some organisations. I tried to understand their problems. The issues they raised, I am speaking here with great responsibility, I tried solving those issues personally. First, they wanted to relocate to safer places. Slowly we have managed to post people in the district headquarters. Now if the employee is from the rural development department, he cannot be posted in the city. So, he is posted in the village neighbouring the district headquarters. A few are in the tehsil headquarters but the police had said it is secured,” he said.
The L-G further said that residents believe that the labourers who work in the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory have a huge role to play in its economy.
“Anybody can work in any state…they have the right to work here. The same goes for Kashmir. There’s a majority in Kashmir who appreciate this and want other people to come and work. We also take care of them (migrants)… push for their insurance. During the apple season, we had guidelines regarding their safety and security – financial and societal,” he said.