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On Thursday afternoon, a group of Kashmiri Pandit (KP) employees were seen negotiating the rate for hiring a truck from south Kashmir’s Kulgam district to Jammu immediately after a bank manager from Rajasthan was shot dead by militants in the same district.

We are preparing for mass migration from Kashmir to Jammu and have come to fix up the rate of trucks. The government only gives us false assurances and we can’t take it anymore,” they told reporters.

There are nearly 4,000 migrant Kashmiri Pandit employees, recruited under the Prime Minister’s special rehabilitation package, and hundreds of the Hindu employees from Jammu recruited under the Schedule Caste (SC) quota and posted in the Valley.

On Tuesday, a female teacher from Samba district of Jammu recruited under SC quota was shot dead by militants in Kulgam and on Thursday a bank manager from Rajasthan was killed in similar circumstances in the same district.

Earlier on May 12, a Kashmir Pandit employee was shot dead by militants inside a government office in Chadoora tehsil office. The targeted killings created a wave of anger and fear among the minority community with the Kashmir Pandit community preparing for migrating from the Valley much like they did in 1990.

In the wake of killings and threats, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Wednesday announced the transfer of all the Hindu government employees to the district headquarters in the Valley. Sinha has directed to immediately post all employees under the PM package and minority community to secured locations by June 6.

As Kashmir Pandit employees have threatened to leave the Valley, transit camps, where they are putting up, have been sealed off at several places by the administration.

We don’t want to get killed one by one. The targeted killings have been happening since October 2021 and everytime the government only gives us false assurances of security. We can’t take it anymore as life is more important than a job,” Sanjay, a Kashmir Pandit employee told DH over phone.

He said they were asking for temporary relocation for two to three years till the situation in the Valley returns to normal. “We have become sitting ducks for the terrorists and left to die by the government,” Sanjay rued.

Another Kashmir Pandit employee living in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district said a simple knock on the door of their house in the evening causes panic as they fear the worst. “We spend sleepless nights under such situations but the government is a mute spectator,” he said.

Since May 13, when Kashmiri Pandit employee Rahul Bhat was shot dead, Kashmiri Pandits have been protesting across Kashmir demanding the relocation of community members employed in the Union Territory to workplaces in safer locations.

In what is being seen by security agencies as a shift in their strategy, militants have targeted members of the minority community in Kashmir since December 2020 to create a 1990-like situation when about 2 lakh Kashmiri Pandits had to flee the valley. 18 members from the minority communities have been killed in targeted attacks by militants from December 2020.

A newly newly-formed Kashmiri Pandits United Front (KPUF) alleged that successive governments have used the community members as scapegoats.

“In the last three years, we have witnessed a surge in the killings of Kashmiri Pandits and Hindus who have always been the flag bearers of nationalism and have openly supported the government. These employees are under the direct attack of terrorists and are not safe even in so-called high-security offices where they are murdered in broad daylight,” said KPUF convener Satish Kissu.

The Resistance Front (TRF), believed to be frontal organisation of Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) outfit, claimed responsibility for several such killings, warning that everyone other than indigenous Kashmiris would be treated as occupiers if they purchase property in J&K.

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