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Letter threat to Kashmiri Pandits

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OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT   |     |   Published 03.08.12, 12:00 AM

Srinagar, Aug. 2: A letter purportedly from a militant group has asked Kashmiri Pandits living in the Valley to leave the place in a week or face consequences, triggering panic in the community.

The Pandits have knocked at the door of separatists, who have assured them of full support but termed it the handiwork of “government agencies” that are “hell bent in giving communal colour to the Azaadi struggle”.

A police officer said the letter appears to be a prank but they are finding out who was behind it.

“We told them (Pandits) that they need not to worry”, an officer said.

Most Pandits left the Valley following the inception of militancy in the 1990s but around 3,000 members of the community had stayed back.

A Pandit leader said the letter was delivered at Sheikhpora colony in Budgam district, where more than 500 members of the community live.

Shiekhpora colony was built by the government to accommodate Kashmiri Pandits who wanted to return. A few hundred Pandits who returned under the government’s special employment package live there along with two dozen families who survived a militant assassination bid several years back in which some Pandits were killed.

“The letter is abusive and was sent by a registered post from court road post office (in Srinagar city centre). It warned us of dire consequences if we did not leave the Valley within a week”, he said.

“The letter is written in Urdu on the letter head of militant group ‘Jaish-e-Mohammad Mujahideen’. We are worried but majority community members are reassuring us,” the leader said.

Jaish-e-Mohammad is a known militant group but it does not use the suffix “Mujahideen”.

The Pandit leaders said they called on several separatist leaders, including hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani and moderate Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to seek help.

Spokesperson for hardline Hurriyat said Geelani told the Pandit delegation that the letter is fake as no militant group of this name exists.

Geelani, however, said it could be the handiwork of government agencies who allegedly want to create communal and sectarian divisions in the state.

Moderate Hurriyat spokesperson said Mirwaiz dispatched a four-member team to Sheikhpora to instil confidence in the community.

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