Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday informed the Rajya Sabha that “no Kashmiri Pandit has left the Kashmir Valley during 2022”. Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai shared the input with the Upper House in a written reply to a query of Samajwadi Party MP Javed Ali Khan.
“As per the records, no Kashmiri Pandit has left the Kashmir Valley during 2022,” Rai replied when asked about the details of the Kashmiri Pandits who left Kashmir Valley during 2022.
The minister also shared data, mentioning that a total of 6,514 Kashmiri Pandits were residing in the Valley till July 20, 2022.
As per the data, maximum of 2,639 Kashmiri Pandits are residing in Kulgam district, followed by 1,204 in Budgam, 808 in Anantnag, 579 in Pulwama, 455 in Srinagar, 320 in Shopian, 294 in Baramulla, 130 in Ganderbal, 66 in Bandipora and 19 in Kupwara.
A separate data also stated that the number of Kashmiri Pandits residing in the Valley was 6,432 as on 2019.
The data shows that a total of 2,557 Kashmiri Pandits were then residing in the Valley followed by 1,204 in Budgam, 808 in Anantnag, 579 in Pulwama, 455 in Srinagar, 320 in Shopian, 294 in Baramulla, 130 in Ganderbal, 66 in Bandipora and 19 in Kupwara.
The information is significant at a time when several people, including many Kashmiri Pandits, have been a victim of targeted killings in the Valley since last year, and amid the reports of Kashmiri Pandits leaving the Union Territory.
In another data, the minister mentioned that a total of six Kashmiri Pandits were killed by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Of them, one was killed in 2020, four in 2021 and one till July 20 this year. The minister in a separate reply to another MP also informed that nine government employees (excluding security forces) including one Kashmiri Pandit have lost their lives in terror-related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir.
He further said the government has a policy of zero tolerance against terrorism and the security situation has improved significantly in Jammu and Kashmir, and that it resulted in a substantial decline in terrorist attacks from 417 in 2018 to 229 in 2021.
In terms of the Jammu and Kashmir Kashmiri Migrants (Special Drive) Recruitment Rules, 2009 notified on December 30, 2009, the appointees shall have to work within Kashmir Valley and shall not be eligible for transfer outside the Valley under any circumstances.
However, the minister further said that the Kashmiri migrants have been posted at safer zones in various districts, tehsils, and headquarters within the Kashmir division.
“Besides, the government has taken several measures to ensure the safety of minorities in the valley. These include a robust security and intelligence grid, day and night area domination, patrolling and proactive operations against terrorists, round-the-clock checking at Nakas, deployment of security forces at strategic points to thwart any terrorist attack.”