The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pundits leave Nadimarg

Srinagar, April 9: Two Kashmiri Pundit families that were stopped from fleeing Nadimarg last week left for Jammu today despite official assurances of additional security.

The migrations come in the wake of the March 23 massacre of 24 Pundits in the village by unidentified militants.

Jagannath, his wife, four children and Shiela Devi, along with seven members of her family, left early this morning for Jammu, where four Pundits migrated two days ago.

The two families had tried to go to Jammu last week when they were intercepted by top state officials near Khanabal in Anantnag district.

Chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had rushed the state intelligence chief and other officials, who persuaded the families to return to Nadimarg, where about 30 Kashmiri Pundits are left. However, the Pundits made it clear to the officials that they would stay only for a few more days before going to Jammu.

The vice-president of the ruling People’s Democratic Party also visited Nadimarg and promised the Pundits full security.

The chief minister held discussions with top state police officers and ordered a thorough review of the security in all minority areas in the Valley.

Today’s migration has come as a serious setback to Mufti’s efforts to bring back the Pundits to Kashmir. The recent firing incidents in minority villages sparked fear and only one policeman guarding a picket near Mattan where the Pundits continue to live has done little to ease their tension.

“We never wanted to leave this village. But the situation is such, we have no option but to leave our village and our Muslim neighbours,” the Pundits told the officials before leaving.

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