January 2016 News

Pandits In Kashmir Threaten To Quit Jobs

24 January 2016
The Tribune (Chandigarh)

Jammu: With no end to their plight and feeling ignored by successive governments, more than 200 displaced Kashmiri Pandit youths engaged under the Prime Minister's employment package in 2010 have threatened to quit jobs in the Valley. Some of them have decided to organise a rally in Jammu on January 29 to highlight their condition. A total of 1,800 youths returned to the Valley after the UPA government announced a Rs 1,618-crore package in 2008. It included an employment component for the rehabilitation of 3.50 lakh Hindus in Kashmir. However, eight years have passed but the government has failed to implement the package components, leading to resentment among the Pandits, mostly youths who had returned to Kashmir. 'The package was an eyewash. Except 1,800 vacancies, no help has been extended to ensure they resettle in Kashmir. About 800 youth are forced to live in cramped prefabricated sheds while others are living in rented accommodation,' said RK Bhat, president, Youth All India Kashmiri Samaj. The organisation has been fighting for the rights of the community youth living and working in the Valley. Bhat said 4,000 vacancies remained vacant since 2010, raising doubts over the sincerity of the successive governments. 'A majority of people are regretting their decision of returning to the Valley. In the absence of residential facilities, our families have again got divided. The women employees are facing a lot of problems, especially when it comes to security,' said Preety Koul, a teacher engaged under the package. Employees alleged that the local administration was not taking any interest in solving their problems. 'There was hope that the BJP-led Central government will take steps to solve our issues, but the same old rhetoric is being heard,' said Sunil Pandita, an employee.