‘No Kashmiri Pandit left the Valley in 2022’: MoS for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai in Rajya Sabha

Nityanand Rai was answering to a question by a Samajwadi Party MP in Rajya Sabha. Image Source: Times Now

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday said no Kashmiri Pandit has left the Kashmir Valley in the year 2022. In response to a question by Samajwadi Party MP Javed Ali Khan, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai provided the Upper House with the information in writing on 27th July 2022.

When asked about the details of the Kashmiri Pandits who left Kashmir Valley in 2022, Rai responded, “As per the records, no Kashmiri Pandit has left the Kashmir Valley during 2022.”

The minister also provided data, noting that as of July 20, 2022, there are 6,514 Kashmiri Pandits living in the Valley. According to the census, Kulgam district has the highest density of Kashmiri Pandits (2,639), followed by Budgam (1,204), Anantnag (808), Pulwama (579), Srinagar (455), Shopian (320), Baramulla (294), Ganderbal (130), Bandipora (66), and Kupwara (19).

According to reports, there were 6,432 Kashmiri Pandits living in the Valley as of 2019. 2 557 Kashmiri Pandits lived in the Valley at the time, 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 data is crucial at a time when multiple persons, including Kashmiri Pandits, have been killed in the Valley since last year, and there have been reports of Kashmiri Pandits quitting the Kashmir valley. Additionally, minister Nityanand Rai also stated that terrorists killed six Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu and Kashmir in 2020, 2021, and 2022. One was slain in 2020, four in 2021, and one till 20th July 2022.

In a separate response to another MP, the minister Nityanand Rai said that nine government employees excluding security personnel and one Kashmiri Pandit had died in terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir. He also asserted that the government has a zero-tolerance stance against terrorism and that the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir has greatly improved, resulting in a remarkable decrease in terrorist attacks from 417 in 2018 to 229 in 2021.

Informing about the postings of the Kashmiri migrants, Nityanand Rai said that the office holders must operate within the Kashmir Valley and are not entitled to relocation beyond the Valley under any conditions in accordance with the Jammu and Kashmir Kashmiri Migrants (Special Drive) Recruitment Rules, 2009 notified on December 30, 2009. However, the minister clarified that the Kashmiri migrants are sent to safer zones in the Kashmir division’s different districts, tehsils, and headquarters.

Nityanand Rai said, “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.”

OpIndia Staff: Staff reporter at OpIndia