Non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits today staged a second rally in as many weeks to press for their demands including proper rehabilitation, employment and financial packages for the youth and renovation of temples.
Dozens of Kashmiri Pandits assembled under the banner of Hindu Welfare Society (HWS) at Barbar Shah Chowk and took out a rally which culminated at Press Enclave, where they were stopped by police from proceeding to nearby Lal Chowk, considered the nerve centre of the city.
On August 25, HWS organised a similar peaceful protest rally to highlight their grievances.
Accusing the successive state and central governments of turning a “blind eye” to them, Chunni Lal, who was leading the protest march, said, “It is ironic that the government is always speaking about return of Kashmiri Pandits but never uttered a word for them (non-migrant pandits).”
“We preferred to live in the Valley at the time of mass exodus of the community 25 years ago. We are facing tremendous problems, especially our youth who are jobless and have no earning,” Lal said.
He said the community welcomes rehabilitation process initiated by the government for the migrant pandits but want it to take necessary steps for their welfare as well.
“The government needs to think of those families who were internally displaced by the circumstances but did not migrate to Jammu. We are spending huge sums of money on rent and are not in a position to purchase a piece of land or construct even one BHK house,” he said.
Lal said due to unfavorable conditions, a sizable number of the youth either could not complete their education or were not meritorious and are struggling hard to meet their expenses. “Some of
them have already reached the maximum age limit for employment as a result of which they are living a stress-full life,” he said and sought a special employment package for them.
He also demanded special financial package for renovation of temples and passing of shrine bill and threatened “drastic steps” if the government fails to pay heed to their demands.