“Dozen Offices Can Be Shut To…”: Minister Backs Kashmiri Pandits’ Strike

Around 6,000 Kashmiri Pandit employees have not reported for work for the last six months.


Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh, a senior leader in the BJP, has come out in support of Kashmir Pandit employees on their demand of relocation to Jammu days after Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha asserted that Kashmiri Pandits serving in the Valley will not be paid their salaries if they do not attend their duties.

Around 6,000 Kashmiri Pandit employees, who had returned to the Valley as part of Prime Minister’s Special Employment Scheme, have not been going to their offices for the last seven months to mark their protest against targeted attacks.

In a strong-worded statement to support the demand of Kashmiri Pandits, Dr Jitendra Singh said that he would prefer closure of dozen government offices to save a life a person facing threats.

“I would say if life of one person is under threat it is better to close one dozen offices to save a life. Saving a life is more important” said Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister state in the PMO.

Earlier, two BJP general Secretaries – Tarun Chugh and Dilip Saikai – reached Jammu on Saturday and met with protesting employees and promised to address their demands.

On Wednesday, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, in a “loud and clear message”, had said that no salary will be paid to Kashmiri Pandits employees while they are sitting at home.

“We have cleared their salaries till August 31. But they cannot be paid salaries while they are sitting at home. This is a loud and clear message to them. They (Pandit employees) should listen and understand it,” said Mr Sinha.

Several Kashmiri Pandits and employees from reserved category have intensified their protests outside BJP headquarters in Jammu.

The local BJP leadership in Jammu and Kashmir has said that they will not allow Kashmiri Pandits employees and those from the reserved categories to become sacrificial goats if government forces them to work in Kashmir valley following recent targeted attacks.

Ravinder Raina, BJP state President took a veiled attack at Lt Governor Manoj Sinha and asked him to meet the protesting employees once to know the reality of the ground situation in Kashmir.

“My hand folded request to Lt Governor is please call Kashmiri Pandits and Reserved Category employees to Rajbhawan. At least list to them once” said Mr Raina

“When you (Lt Governor) listen to them you will know the reality of ground situation” the BJP state president said.

Mr Raina said LGs may not have been properly briefed about the situation and that’s the reason Mr Sinha made such a statement on salary of protesting Pandit employees.

“Perhaps, bureaucrats have failed to give proper briefing. That’s the reason such statement has come from you” said Mr Raina.

Pandit leaders BJP challenged Lt Governor Manoj Sinha to post his child or daughter in Kashmir Valley in such situation.

Dr Agnishekhar, a prominent Pandit leader, accused government of using Pandits as a sacrificial goat when there are targeted attacks and fresh terrorist threats against Pandit employees.

” Will Lt Governor wish to see his daughter posted in Kashmir in such a situation. Does any deputy commissioner move around in Kashmir without security” Mr Agnishekhar asked.

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