Fear Grips Sikhs After They Get Threats To Leave Kashmir Valley

Fear Grips Sikhs After They Get Threats To Leave Kashmir Valley

15 August 2011
DNA
Ishfaq-ul-Hassan

Srinagar: Panic has gripped the Sikh community in Kashmir after the anonymous threatening letters were circulated in Rawalpora village of Kupwara district asking the Sikhs to leave the valley within five days. The letters were circulated after a Sikh girl was selected as teacher under Rehbar-e-Taleem scheme in the village which had irked some people leading to the tension in the area. “The girl was selected on merit but some people of the majority community were not happy. Later five letters were dropped at five households asking Sikhs to leave the valley within five days. It created a panic among the community at large since Jammu and Kashmir is a very sensitive state”, said Jagmohan Singh Raina, president All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee There are around 80,000 Sikhs living in 121 villages spread in eight districts of Kashmir valley. Sikhs and Muslims have traditionally lived in harmony in the Kashmir valley. Despite the massacre of 34 Sikhs in Chattisinghpora village of Anantnag district on March, 20 2000, the Sikhs did not migrate from Kashmir unlike Kashmiri pandits. During the last year unrest similar anonymous letters were circulated among Sikhs in different villages and cities asking them to join the protests or leave the valley. This had triggered a chain reaction with fear engulfing the small Sikh community of the valley. “We condemn such acts. There is a reason for people to be panicky. Recently a Sikh as elected sarpanch with the support of Muslims in panchayat elections”, said Raina. Sensing trouble the authorities have swung into action and rounded up some boys in the village to stem the rot. “It is a mischief which is much localized. There is nothing serious. We have rounded up five to six boys in this regard”, said Mohammad Shafi Rather, district development commissioner, Kupwara. MLA Langate Sheikh Abdul Rashid too played down the incident saying some mischief mongers have written some sentences on a school copy and then Xeroxed it before circulating it. “It is not serious. I request the media not to blow this issue out of proportion”, he said. Separatists too have condemned the act and called for unity and harmony between the two communities. 'Sikhs had never faced any threat from Muslim majority in Kashmir. Some people are trying to create divisions between the two communities. Our senior leader Abdul Ahad visited Rawalpora village to instill confidence among the Sikh brethren”, said a spokesman of hard-line faction of Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani


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