Kashmiri pandits demand employment, minority status, accommodation

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Srinagar, Apr 14 (UNI) Demanding employment for 400 unemployed youths of the community, the Hindu Welfare Society (HWS), has said the government should grant minority status and construct houses for the Kashmiri pandits are living in different parts of the valley.

Addressing mediapersons at Ramji Mandir at Barbar Shah near here, Autar Kishen Bhat president of the HWS, an organisation of Pandits who did not migrate and stayed in the valley during the period of turmoil, said there are more than 400 youths of the community who are unemployed.

He said in 2004 the state government headed by then Chief Minister Mufti Mohamma Sayeed issued appointment orders to 40 youths as Rehbar-e-Taleem teachers. However, only 28 joined, he said.

Mr Bhat demanded construction of quarters at every district headquarters where all those families who are living separately in different villages could settle down.

''We cannot enjoy our festivals and other occasions because we are living in different villages,'' he said, adding ''if we will live at one place we can celebrate the festivals with religious fervour.'' He said the living standard of pandits in valley has gone down as compared to pre-1990 years.

Therefore, Mr Bhat said, it was necessary to grant minority status to the community.

In reply to a question he said the pandits living in different parts of the valley are not facing any threat from anybody. We are living peacefully with our Muslim brethren, he said.

However, there are some elements in every community who wanted to create misunderstanding among the communities, Mr bhat said.

UNI BAS YSS AKJ RN1716

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