Government Denies Security To Pandit Leaders

4 May 2008

New Delhi: WHILE ON one hand, the Jammu and Kashmir government is rubbishing the voices against the recent return package announced by the Prime Minister, on the other hand, it is bent upon discouraging those who want to contribute towards the peace process and amicable return of Kashmiri Pandits to the valley. The modus operandi is simple; deny or withdraw the security of those who are contributing in making people to people contact on the ground level and strengthen those who are living in luxurious comforts of their homes in Jammu and elsewhere. Although, the security issue has been debated by the intellectuals and writers time and again, but the fact remains that genuine ones are always denied any support while the unscrupulous ones get every benefit from the government. Take the example of self styled political or social leaders, every one is moving around with a posse of security men to impress upon the people that they are the leaders. There are hundreds of such cases, which include social and political leaders, self styled and illiterate ’journalists’ and fraudulent Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) ’owners’ who are enjoying government security to threaten the innocent people, with some of them even intimidating their victims after cheating or blackmailing them through various ways. However, it has always been observed that whenever a genuine case comes up government pays no attention to that. A prominent social leader has been demanding security cover for the last one year, as he has been working at the ground level through his organisation to remove the mistrust between the Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits, but his application including that of his associate has been accumulating dust in the police headquarters files. Now the latest blow has come to a prominent KP leader and the chairman of All Party Migrant Coordination Committee (APMCC) Vinod Pandit, whose security and vehicle etc have been withdrawn completely without any valid reason. Vinod who has been instrumental in initiating the temple reopening movement in Kashmir single-handedly for the last three years has been victimised because he does not toe the government line of making false promises. Vinod works on the actual ground level and visits those areas where even our strong political leaders fear to tread despite heavy security. Vinod has won the trust of the locals, who know that he has been working for the ’people to people’ contact and to restore the age-old brotherhood among KPs and Muslims. He is perhaps the only KP leader without any political link and who was provided with a good security cover, including a vehicle, but which has now been removed after the PM announced the return of package. A visibly angry Vinod said that the government was trying to befool the public with its return package as it has withdrawn the security cover of a leader, who single handedly has been trying to prepare the ground for the honorable return of Kashmiri Pandits. He said that he would continue his work in the valley but has warned that if something happens to him, the government would be solely responsible for that. Vinod said that even though he has won the trust of the local Muslim community, but still there are some vested interests who don’t want good relations to develop between the Pandits and their Muslim brethren. He has written a strong note to the union home secretary, national security advisor, chief minister and the governor expressing his surprise and anguish over the move. Meanwhile, Inspector General (IG) Security, PL Gupta could not be reached for comments on the issue but the fact remains that if a ground level leader like Vinod and others who want to make a practical contribution to the peace process are denied security, the seriousness of the government to take migrants back was well understood. It is high time the government and the police identifies the real people in need of security cover and removes the security of those who indulge in fraud and blackmailing under the cover of their Personal Security Officers (PSOs), so that the real intentions of the return package are clear because even Pandits have always been raising the concern for their security in the valley. It seems that the package is only a sugar coated pill to keep the Kashmiri and Jammu migrants in good humour till the elections are over.