Kashmir killings: Centre blames Pakistan; Pandits shifted to safer locations
Amid rising incidents of targeted civilian killings in Kashmir, Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah convened high-level meetings with top military and security officials on Friday. Intelligence agencies informed Shah that Pakistan was responsible for the rising violence in the Valley, NDTV reported. Later on Saturday, the government ordered the transfer of 177 Kashmiri Pandits from Srinagar to safer locations.
- The development comes amid a spike in civilian killings in the Kashmir Valley over the last few months.
- The Valley has witnessed nearly 20 targeted killings, including those of police officials, teachers, and sarpanches recently.
- Notably, the terrorists mainly targeted Kashmiri Pandits and laborers from outside Jammu & Kashmir (J&K).
- The home minister had called the emergency meetings to discuss the security in J&K.
In the meetings, it was decided that Kashmiri Pandits would not be sent out of Kashmir, but would be accommodated in safer places. The Centre cannot be a part of ethnic cleansing, officials said, adding that it believes in a society with diverse cultures. Kashmir Pandits, who are concerned due to the continuous attacks, have been demanding that the government should ensure their security.
The officials further said that the conversations intercepted by the intelligence agencies have revealed that Pakistan wants to escalate the violence in Kashmir. That is why new infiltration attempts are being made, they said. Apart from attacks on civilians, there has been an increase in terrorist incidents in Kashmir this year. So far, 62 such incidents took place in 2022.
A series of discussions on the security situation in Kashmir and the forthcoming Amarnath Yatra was conducted in Delhi's North Block on Friday. These were attended by Intelligence Bureau (IB) Director Arvind Kumar, RAW Director Samant Goyal, J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, and J&K DGP Dilbagh Singh, among others. Sinha briefed the home minister on the current situation and the steps being taken.
On Wednesday, terrorists killed a Hindu bank manager in his office in Kulgam. Hours later, two migrant laborers were shot in central Kashmir. One of them eventually died in the hospital. Terrorists also killed a Hindu school teacher on Tuesday. Last week, terrorists also shot dead three off-duty police officers and a television actress, all of whom were Muslims, in three separate incidents.
The Centre also had discussions about the Amarnath Yatra. On May 17, the home minister had a high-level meeting to review the preparations. On Friday, too, he gave the security personnel instructions to stop the infiltration and eliminate the terrorists. The Home Ministry officials examine the Yatra preparations every Monday. However, on Friday, Shah took the review of the Yatra himself.