'We do not want Kashmiri Pandits to migrate from Kashmir.'
The targeted killings of Kashmiri Pandits have seen an upward trend, with not a week passing without a Kashmiri Pandit getting killed in Kashmir.
In the last one month, nine Hindus have been killed in Kashmir, which has created an atmosphere of fear and panic among the Kashmiri Pandits with many of them wanting to move out of the Valley.
Many Kashmiri Pandit government employees now want to move permanently to Jammu where they feel their life will be much safer.
However, Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former J-K deputy chief minister Kavinder Gupta feels the Pandits moving to Jammu is not a good idea.
"Obviously, when someone gets killed due to terrorism, people will feel agitated. Right now, safe passage has to be created for the Kashmiri Pandits till the situation improves," Gupta tells Syed Firdaus Ashraf/Rediff.com.
After Article 370 was abrogated one saw normalcy returning to Kashmir, but now once again things are getting worse with targeted killings. Why?
After the abrogation of Article 370 the stone pelting incidents have completely stopped.
The bandhs, which were frequently called by separatist groups like the Hurriyat, have also stopped because they don't find any takers.
Pakistani flags that used to be displayed by separatists are not to be seen in Kashmir now.
And right now, the extremist elements are getting frustrated, therefore they have come up with a new strategy.
They are using disgruntled sections of Kashmiri youth who have no criminal background or criminal record, they are providing them with guns to do targeted killings.
They are adopting this new strategy to create instability in Kashmir.
Who are they targeting? Kashmiri Pandits?
It is not Kashmiri Pandits alone who they are targeting because there are cases of Kashmiri Muslims too getting killed.
Deaths have been reported of Saifullah Khan and Amreen Butt too. Poor labourers too they (terrorists) targeted. Kashmiri police jawans were also targeted. The sad part is that they are not sparing even children.
Has public confidence been shaken in Kashmir?
No, it has not been shaken. The confidence-building measure is an ongoing process. Lakhs of tourists are arriving in Jammu and Kashmir from different parts of India. All the yatras are going on peacefully and there is no reduction in the number of yatris arriving in J-K for any pilgrimage tours. These are very positive signs.
Obviously, against this background when someone gets killed due to terrorism, people will feel agitated.
Demonstrations do take place (against the government), but that does not mean that we must surrender to the demands of terrorists.
Our intelligence agencies will have to get better informers so that we can prevent such incidents in future and I am sure they are already working on it.
What about the Kashmiri Pandits? They say they do not want to live in Kashmir and want to move to Jammu.
If Kashmiri Pandits leave Kashmir they will surrender (to the terrorists). This should not happen.
Right now, I agree that they need to be brought to some safe location and search operations must go on at places where these targeted killings took place.
At the same time, we need to find the people who are funding these targeted killings.
We need to also keep a check on political parties who are trying to hypnotise the Kashmiri youth and take them on the path of violence.
What is the BJP doing as a party to pacify Kashmiri Pandits?
I said if they move out of Kashmir, then it is like surrendering to the terrorists.
Right now, safe passage has to be created for the Kashmiri Pandits till the situation improves.
If you take them out of Kashmir, then that tantamounts to migration and we do not want Kashmiri Pandits to migrate from Kashmir.
Since you say migration is not a good idea, does it mean targeted killings is just a bad phase which will get over soon?
Yes, it is just a temporary blip. Terrorist life expectancy is not long and they will not last long enough to carry on such activities.
Right now, we are appealing to the local youth of Kashmir not to get waylaid by the divisive agenda of terrorists.
Appeal is also being made to Kashmiri elderly people that they need to step in and stop the youth from taking up arms and indulging in violence.
We did control things earlier the same way.
Why has the violence erupted suddenly? Why has the cycle of violence resumed?
It started with Yasin Malik's judgment when he was convicted by the court in a terror funding case. Some 40 people started an agitation and came out on the roads. All of them were caught and sent to jail.
Our government has a zero tolerance policy for terrorism. We will not show any leniency towards any terrorist.