SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on Friday decried the J&K and the central government for ignoring the genuine demands of non-migrant Kashmiri pandits who are sitting in an indefinite hunger strike at Ganpatyar Temple, Srinagar over the past six days.
Upon instructions from Party President and Member of Parliament from Srinagar Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Party’s Provincial President (Kashmir) Nasir Aslam Wani today visited the sit-in at Ganpatyar temple and expressed solidarity with the protesters led by Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samitee (KPSS) President Sanjay Tickoo.
In a statement, the Party’s provincial president said that it was appalling to see the government not taking cognizance of the hunger strike. “So far no one from the administration has visited them. It is the sixth day of their hunger strike, and the very wellbeing of the protestors is in jeopardy,” he said while expressing dismay that no government official has visited them and that no medical team was either sent to check their wellbeing.
Nasir assured the protestors that the National Conference will take up their issues at all forums and strive to ensure that their demands are conceded. He impressed upon the administration to ensure reservation of 500 posts for non Migrant kashmiri pandits. “2000 posts announced under the prime Minister package are yet to be filled,” he said.
The protesting non-migrant pandits acquainted him that the 137th parliamentary committee has also revealed the dwindling financial condition of the non-migrant committee making the community eligible for the assistance from the government.
The protestors asserted that in wake of the cold response, and the dwindling job prospects the community would also be pushed to leave for other places. They said the young educated professionals who have passed the upper age limit for the government’s job are looking into the deep abyss. They said the government’s apathetic deeds towards non- migrant pandit community will not help those migrant pandits to return back.
He said the issue assumes urgency as many young pandits eligible for government employment are breaching the age bar. The more these young people are asked to wait, the more they will be on the losing side, he said while expressing unison with them. “A large number of Kashmiri pandits stayed back and didn’t move to Jammu and other parts of the country in wake of the disturbances in early 1990’s. Unfortunately the employment and financial package for the pandit community, which was announced by the GOI in 2009 does not include non-migrant Kashmiri pandits,” he said.
The community, Nasir said, has been making countless representations but till now their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. “It is needless to say that the private sector in Kashmir has not mushroomed due to various confounding factors. Therefore the only viable source of employment for the youth of Kashmir is the government sector; regrettably that avenue is also being shut on our youth due to the apathetic attitude of the government,” he said adding, “Pandits are a part and parcel of our cultural milieu. It is not just about benefits, it is more about survival. The number of unemployed youth in non-migrant community is swelling and breaching upper limits of age required for the jobs in the government sector. The entire community is on the brink of starvation and penury. The government on its part is not able to rise up to the requirement of the non-migrant pundit community, not to speak of those who migrated.”