The Jammu and Kashmir administration claimed that no Kashmiri Pandit family had left Shopian in south Kashmir. Within two days, the last Kashmiri Pandit residents of Shopian’s Chaudhurigund village had left.
Death of Kashmiri Pandit
On October 15, militants shot dead Purankrishnan Bhatt of the Pandit community in that village. The villagers claimed that since then panic was spreading in the village. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has criticized the Narendra Modi government for leaving the valley of Pandits. 11 Pandit families were living in Chaudhurigund and Chhotipora villages. Villagers said that all the families have moved to Jammu. Dolly Kumari and her family members survived till the end in Chaudhurigund. But yesterday they also left for Jammu.
In Dolly’s words, “An atmosphere of panic. What else could I do? I’ll go back when the situation improves. Who wants to leave their home?” Her statement, “Purankrishnan Bhatt’s murder has spread more panic. Wouldn’t you also be panicked if something like this happened close to home?”
Memories from the past
Many Kashmiri Pandits left the valley during the militancy of the 1990s. But the villagers say that the Kashmiri Pandits who are residents of Chaudhurigund and Chhotipora did not leave the valley even then. The houses of Pandits in the village are locked for the time being. They couldn’t wait to sell the apples from their garden. Dolly gave a Muslim neighbor the responsibility of apples from her garden. About 1000 boxes of apples are produced in her garden. In Dolly’s words, “I asked the neighbor to send apples to the market. He knows what he can do.”
Muslim neighbors are saddened by Pandit’s departure from the village. Ghulam Hasan helped to fence Dolly’s house. Saying, “Dolly’s brother lives in Jammu. He is the one who asked the sister’s family to leave the village. It could not be sadder. They did not leave Kashmir even in the 1990s. They do not feel safe after the recent killings.” Ghulam Hasan Wagher, a former military personnel resident of the village, also claimed that the Pandits left the village due to the recent killings. Villagers said they won’t let even a box of apples go to waste.
Statement from administration
Publicly, however, the Jammu and Kashmir administration is not willing to accept the idea of the scholars leaving the valley. In a statement a couple of days ago, they said, “Reports of Pandits leaving the valley are baseless. They have been adequately protected. Many families migrate to Jammu after the onset of winter and the end of the farming season. There has been no case of the panic-driven exodus from Shopian.”
Targeting the Modi government, Rahul Gandhi’s tweet said, “30 people have been killed in Kashmir this year. Pandits are gradually leaving the valley. BJP has ruined the good work done by the UPA government. The prime minister spoke big things before coming to power. Now he is in power. And the Kashmiri Pandits are diaspora in their land.”