Kashmiri Pandit Delegation Meets Rahul Gandhi| MENAFN.COM

Saturday, 01 April 2023 07:41 GMT

Kashmiri Pandit Delegation Meets Rahul Gandhi

(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer)

Says he is likely to visit their township in Jammu

Samba/Jammu- A Kashmiri migrant pandit delegation met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday during his Bharat Jodo Yatra in Samba district and briefed him about their various issues including“targeted killings” by militants and the resultant protest by those employed under a prime minister's package.

Social activist Amit Koul, who was part of the delegation, said they have invited Gandhi to their Jagti township along the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and that he is likely to visit the community on his way to Kashmir.

“We had a very good interaction with Gandhi and we briefed him about the issues of the community, especially the prime minister's package employees who were provided jobs by the previous UPA government led by Manmohan Singh. They are on protest over the past six months in Jammu and their salaries have been withheld,” Koul told PTI.

Nearly 4,000 Kashmiri migrant pandits are working in different departments in the valley after their selection under the prime minister's employment package announced in 2008. The package has two major components - 6,000 jobs for the youth from the community and building as many accommodation units for the recruited employees.

However, many of the employees fled to Jammu after one of their colleagues, Rahul Bhat, was shot dead by militants inside his office in Budgam district on May 12 last year in what was described as a case of targeted killing. They are on a strike demanding their relocation out of the Valley.

“We also raised other issues of the community including the need for enhancement of relief. We requested him to visit our township Jagti or send a delegation but he assured that he will visit Jagti himself and raise their issues within and outside Parliament,” Koul said.

Another member, Jitendra Kachroo, said he has come all the way from from Uttar Pradesh, where he has settled after migrating from Kashmir, to meet Gandhi with other members of the delegation.

“He (Gandhi) is a very nice human being and a very simple person. He patiently heard our issues and it was heartwarming that he had time to listen to us,” Kachroo said.

He said they were initially supposed to meet him as a 13-member delegation but several more joined them and“we raised issues which the community is facing”.

Charging the BJP with using the community to further its political agenda, Kachroo said,“They do not really mean to solve the problems of the Kashmiri pandits because for them it is a political agenda for them to spread hate on the basis of religion.

“We used to live together in Kashmir - both Muslims and Hindus - as we share culture, dressing, and even surnames. There was never such a type of atmosphere, and we all were living together (before the eruption of militancy and migration of the community,” he said.

Thousands turn up to accord warm welcome to Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra in Jammu

Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra received a warm welcome as it entered the winter capital Jammu from the adjoining Samba district Monday afternoon with authorities further strengthening the security cordon around him.

The yatra started from Samba's Vijaypur along the Jammu-Pathankot highway at around 7 am Monday and was received warmly by a massive crowd as it crossed Bari Brahmana in Jammuj's Parmandal.

Earlier, officials said all necessary arrangements were in place for the yatra, which started from Kanyakumari on September 7 and is scheduled to culminate in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir summer capital, on January 30. Gandhi is scheduled to hoist the national flag at his party headquarters at a mega rally to mark the culmination of the march.

Amid chants of 'Nafrat Chhodo, Bharat Jodo (essentially denouncing hatred to unite India)', the yatra witnessed a huge number of policemen joining the security ring around the Gandhi family scion at Kaluchak as it moved ahead towards its Satwari Chowk.

Gandhi will address a gathering at the Satwari Chowk before moving to Sidhra for the night halt.

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh, Congress General Secretary (Organisation) K C Venugopal, AICC communication incharge Jairam Ramesh, J&K Congress chief Vikar Rasool Wani, his predecessor G A Mir, working president Raman Bhalla and former minister Tariq Hamid Karra joined the yatra on its 129th day.

They were joined by a large number of party workers and supporters who were walking with the tricolour.

Thousands of people have gathered to receive the march at Kunjwani, where a large delegation of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by General Secretary (central) S Amreet Singh Reen were waiting to join the yatra.

“We have come to support Gandhi who is moving with a message to strengthen the unity and remove hatred in the country,” senior PDP leader and former legislator Firdous Ahmad Tak said.

He said the beauty of the country is 'unity in diversity' and such an initiative was the need of the hour in view of the“massive onslaught unleashed by the ruling dispensation” on the country's social fabric.

“Gandhi was able to convey his message in a powerful way across the country and even those who are not able to participate in the yatra are appreciating his message,” he said.

Congress working president thanked the people for their tremendous response to the yatra.“Not only the Congressmen but the common people are joining the yatra and sharing the concerns raised by Gandhi over the divisive politics prevalent in the country.”

He said people are very happy with Gandhi who is listening to their issues which is very important.

“Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was known as Kashmir's daughter and her grandson is on a foot march to Kashmir...there are various issues and the foremost is the restoration of our rights including full statehood and holding of elections,” he said.

Earlier in Samba, Gandhi, who walked wearing his trademark white T-shirt braving the early morning chill, was cheered on by the public and party workers waiting in their numbers on either side of the road.

He was seen moving close to the roadside to shake hands with the enthusiastic supporters at a few places, much to the concern of the security personnel.

Traffic police have issued a detailed advisory for Monday and Tuesday to ensure smooth movement of traffic on the highway and other link roads in the city.

Security has been beefed across the Union Territory in the wake of two bomb blasts in Narwal area on the outskirts of Jammu city on Saturday which resulted in injuries to nine people.

The blasts were triggered by suspected militants, who acted despite the heightened security arrangements made ahead of Gandhi-led yatra and the Republic Day celebrations.

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