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Kashmiri Pandits in Baramulla observe Diwali as ‘Black Day’

Demand release of salaries, say they don’t have money to buy sweets and crackers for the festival

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Waris Fayaz

Baramulla, Oct 24 : With Hindus across the world celebrating Diwali, Kashmiri Pandits in Baramulla observed the festival of lights as ‘Black Day’ in solidarity with slain Puran Krishna Bhat.

The slain was shot dead allegedly by militants in Shopian last week.

“We are not going to celebrate Diwali, as it has been just days ago when our beloved Puran was killed by the militants. How can we celebrate it? We are celebrating the day as a Black day,” a Kashmiri Pandit, Triloki Nath Pandita, told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO).

“It seems the administration is upset with us. It has been like a do or die situation for we people. We have been suffering for the last 30 years, we feel as if we are not Kashmiris,” Pandita added.

The Pandits expressed their anger against the administration for not releasing their pending salaries and have demanded that their withheld salaries be released so that they can feed their families.

President Pandit Colony Baramulla Avtar Bhat told KNO that their salary from September has been withheld by the government. About 30-40 percent employees have not received salaries from the last four months, he said.

“We don’t have money to buy sweets and crackers for the festival,” he said and urged the government to release their pending salaries so that they can celebrate the festival of lights with their families.

Deputy Commissioner Baramulla had earlier assured and directed the concerned departments to release the salaries ahead of Diwali. But the DDO’s didn’t as they hadn’t received any written order from the DC, Avtar added—(KNO)

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