Eight MCD officials have alleged "blatant harassment" by the Delhi government led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal I File Photo

Centre in opposition’s line of fire over targeted killings in Kashmir Valley

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Opposition leaders on Sunday attacked the Centre over the spurt in targeted killings in the Kashmir Valley saying the government was not listening to the voice of Kashmiri Pandits.

While Delhi chief minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal speaking in New Delhi alleged that the Jammu and Kashmir administration was not allowing Kashmiri Pandits to protest against the killings, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in a statement targeted Union Home Minister Amit Shah and claimed the Centre has failed to protect the lives of Hindus and Kashmiri Pandits. Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut alleged that no one was willing to listen to the Kashmiris as the government was “busy promoting films”.

Jammu and Kashmir has seen a rise in the killing of civilians over the last few months — 13 people have been shot dead in three months. Union home minister Amit Shah, J&K Lt governor Manoj Sinha, and NSA Ajit Doval held a high-level meeting on Friday over the matter.

Also read: Why Kashmiri Pandits want to flee Valley, and why this worries the Centre

Kejriwal says govt has no plan

Kejriwal, while speaking at a protest held by the AAP at Jantar Mantar in the national capital against the Centre amid a spurt in targeted killings in J&K, said: “When they (Kashmiri Pandits) protest against the targeted killings, the present BJP government in Kashmir does not allow them to protest. If the government behaves like this, the suffering of the people becomes double.”

Kejriwal said Kashmiri Pandits don’t want meetings by the Centre, but demand action now. “They (government) don’t have any plan. Whenever there is a murder in the Valley, news comes that the home minister has called a high-level meeting, enough of these meetings, now we need action, Kashmir wants action,” the Delhi CM said.

Kejriwal also made four demands to the Centre over the targeted killings in the Valley — an action plan to stop such incidents, cancel bonds signed with Kashmiri Pandits that says they cannot work outside Kashmir, fulfill the demands of Kashmiri Pandits and provide them security.

Also speaking on the occasion, AAP MP Sanjay Singh alleged that the prime minister, home minister, all Union ministers and MPs were shedding crocodile tears in the name of The Kashmir Files film. “Today, Kashmiri Pandits are being massacred. I want to ask Modi ji where are your ministers, MPs and MLAs hiding right now?” Singh said.

BJP played with Pandits’ sentiments, says NCP

NCP’s chief spokesman Mahesh Tapase in a statement also said that BJP leaders were busy promoting The Kashmir Files for their own political purpose. Maharashtra was the only state which offered a safe passage to the displaced Kashmiri Pandits, while the BJP only played with their sentiments, Tapase claimed.

Also read: Kashmiri Pandits seek HC’s help for a safe exit from Valley

“The Modi government has miserably failed to protect the lives of Hindus and Kashmiri Pandits. As the countrys home minister, it is the duty of Amit Shah to protect the lives of citizens of the country,” Tapase said.

He further said the Modi-led BJP government had promised a safe return for Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley. But those promises have turned out to be another “jumla” (rhetoric) as Prime Minister Modi’s government made no concrete efforts to re-establish the Kashmiri Pandits in their homeland, he claimed.

Raut takes potshots at Amit Shah

News agency ANI quoted Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut as saying: “Kashmir is burning again, the situation there is out of control, and important people of Delhi are busy promoting films. No one is willing to listen to the Kashmiris. The Kashmiri Pandits are forced to protest, what is the government doing?”

Raut’s comments came after Union home minister Amit Shah watched the Akshay Kumar-starrer ‘Samrat Prithviraj’ at a special screening. Union ministers, including Piyush Goyal, Anurag Thakur and Ashwini Vaishnaw, were also present at the screening.

Raut has been criticising the central government over the law-and-order situation in Kashmir.  Last month, Raut had questioned the claims that Kashmiri Pandits were returning to the Valley post the contentious scrapping of Article 370.

On Saturday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had also expressed concern about the “targeted killings of Hindus and Kashmiri Pandits” in the Kashmir Valley. Kashmiri Pandits were fleeing the Valley, Shiv Sena president Thackeray had said. Thackeray said the state (Maharashtra) stands firmly behind the Kashmiri Pandits and will do everything possible to help them.

Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray too expressed concern over the situation and termed it “deeply concerning”. He also said the doors of Maharashtra are always open for Kashmiri Pandits.

Also read: Terrorists gun down bank employee in Kulgam in Kashmir; eighth killing since May 1

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