December 2019 News

Govt Harassing Inhabitants Of Relief Camps, Allege Pandits

14 December 2019
The Tribune

Jammu: After the abrogation of Article 370, hundreds of militancy displaced Kashmiri Hindu families living in the camps of Jammu have accused the government of 'intimidation' and 'harassment' in the name of verification, with notices being pasted on doors of their quarters if they are found locked for a few weeks. Inhabitants living in Jagti, Muthi, Nagrota and Purkhoo housing nearly 10,000 Pandit families in two-room tenements constructed under the Prime Minister's rehabilitation package allege the respective camp commandants start enquiring about the whereabouts of a family if it is not found in the quarter. Many families are afraid to even visit relatives or their children studying or working outside the state as if their residence is found locked, zonal officers of the Relief Department visit that particular building and paste notices. 'My two children are working outside Jammu and I had gone to visit my son and planned to stay there for two months. But within days, camp commandant officers visited our building and issued a notice to us. I had to hurry back to explain my position,' said a camp inhabitant at Jagti who did not want to reveal his name. Many families whose children have been engaged under the Prime Minister's employment package and posted in different districts of Kashmir have not been spared. 'There was a similar case a few days back. A family was living inside the quarter but it was marked locked during the survey,' said Ashok Bhat, who lives in Jagti. Camps having multi-storey buildings were allotted to families from Kashmir, mainly Hindus, after their forced exodus in the 1990s. 'The government is treating us as if we are living in a jail. We have not signed any bond that we cannot leave this camp. A majority of children have moved outside Jammu for employment. This is mental harassment,' said Sunil Kumar Pandita, a social activist. Relief Commissioner (Migrants) TK Bhat was not available for a comment. A zonal official at one of the camps claimed this was a part of the verification process.