June 2020 News

Panic Among Panchayat Leaders After Murder Of Sarpanch In Kashmir Valley

10 June 2020
India Today
Sunil Bhat

Srinagar: Two days after the killing of Kashmiri Pandit sarpanch Ajay Pandita Bharti in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir, panchayat leaders belonging to the minority community are panic-stricken. There are reports that sarpanchs, panchs and corporators belonging to the minority Hindu community are leaving the Kashmir Valley. A village sarpanch in the Pulwama district of the Union Territory said Hindu panchayat leaders have started fleeing the area. 'Ajay Pandita Bharti was a brave colleague of ours. We are shocked by his killing. We fear for our lives now. That's why we have left the valley and come to Jammu,' said Manoj Pandita, a sarpanch of a Pulwama village. Sarpanch Ajay Pandita Bharti was killed by terrorists on Monday evening leading to panic among the Pandits. It has triggered exodus of the Kashmiri Pandit local body leaders in the Valley. India Today spoke to panchayat leaders who have fled to Jammu. The elected panchayat members said they would not return to the Valley until adequate security is provided to them. 'I came to Jammu few weeks ago for some personal work. But now after the killing of Ajay Pandita, I won't return to the valley. The administration has failed to provide security to us,' said a woman panchayat member. The barbaric murder of the Hindu Sarpanch has created fear psychosis among the few hundred Kashmiri Hindus living in the Valley. Over 3.5 lakh Kashmiri Pandits were forced to leave the Valley by the jehadi separatists and terrorists between 1989 and 1992. Earlier in February, some prominent Kashmiri Pandits in New Delhi met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and raised the issue of honourable and dignified rehabilitation of the displaced Hindu community. The home minister had assured them that the Modi government was committed to rehabilitation of the community. But the killing of a Kashmiri Pandit sarpanch by terrorists in the Valley has come as a major setback to the efforts of the government to rehabilitate the displaced Hindu community.