At least 600 Kashmiri Pandits have left Kashmir for Jammu to escape the deadly violence which has followed the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by Indian security forces on July 8, The Indian Express reported today.
Clashes between Kashmiri protestors and Indian security forces over the death of the 22-year-old militant have claimed the lives of 39 people and injured hundreds over the past ten days.
Sanjay Pandita, a teacher in Pahalgam, who left Mattan in the district of Anantnag on July 9, told The Indian Express that the situation deteriorated within minutes of Wani's death, and loudspeakers on top of the local mosques started blaring. "One does not need to listen, the very first stone pelted on you conveys the message," he told the newspaper.
The Indian Express reported that the Kashmiri Pandits who have left Kashmir during this latest bout of violence are among those who given were given jobs and houses as part of a rehabilitation package to return to the Valley in 2010.
It is estimated that around 57,000 families mostly Kashmiri Pandits left Kashmir in the wake of the militancy which intensified in the 1990s. According to official figures, there are presently around 60,452 registered Kashmiri migrant families in the country, with 38,119 families residing in Jammu and 19,338 families living in Delhi.
Sushma, who returned to the Valley after her parents left in the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits in the 1990s, told The Indian Express that she and her family has been targeted ever since they came back in 2010, and they finally decided to leave after a mob tried to storm their camp and threw petrol bombs, which injured her two-year-old son.
"Ever since we returned, we were targeted with stone-pelting, whenever Pakistan won or lost a cricket match, or during a Hindu festival like Diwali," she told the newspaper.
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