Kashmiri pandit leader on hunger strike to draw Centre’s attention

Kashmir’s prominent pandit leader Sanjay Tickoo has been on a hunger strike for the past one week to protest against Centre’s alleged apathy to the demands and needs of nearly 800 Kashmiri pandit families that never left the valley. Some other leaders of the local Kashmiri Pandit Sanghrash Samiti (KPSS), led by Tickoo, are also sitting on the fast unto death at the courtyard of a local temple in Srinagar with the hope that it will force the Centre to take note of the community’s grievances. The strike has entered the seventh day.Samiti leaders alleged that more than 800 Kashmiri pandit families, who never migrated from the Valley, have been ignored by the government while framing the policies for migrant pandit families. The Samiti is demanding jobs for the unemployed youths of the pandit families living in Kashmir and also monthly cash assistance on the pattern of the scheme in place for migrant pandit families living in Jammu and other parts of the country. “Yesterday, ADC Srinagar approached us and assured that the administration will look into our demands and revert in the shortest period of time,” Tickoo said, adding that he decided to sit on the fast unto death after alleged non fulfilment of verbal assurances from authorities.On Friday, National Conference expressed solidarity with the striking members of the Samiti and the party’s provincial president, Nasir Aslam Wani,
visited the non-migrant pandits at Ganpatyar Temple.
“Our Party expresses solidarity with them and extends support to their cause,” NC spokesman said.
Samiti leaders have maintained that unemployment among the youths of the community is the biggest problem they face.