Dolly Kumari was the last Kashmiri Pandit in Shopian district’s Chaudharygund village. Last evening, she also left the valley and migrated to Jammu .
Her departure comes after all other seven Pandit families living in the village quietly migrated to Jammu following the recent targeted killings in the valley.
“There is atmosphere of fear. What else I could have done,” said Ms Dolly.
Ms Dolly said she was trying to be brave when she decided to stay back for a few more days even after all other Kashmiri pandits had left the village
She said she will come back once the situation improves.
“I will come back if situation improves. It’s my home. Who wants to leave her home. Everyone loves home. I feel very sad that I had to leave my home” Ms Dolly told NDTV.
On October 15, Kashmiri Pandit Puran Krishan Bhat was killed outside his home in Chowderygund village. Two months before that, a Kashmiri Pandit was shot dead by terrorists at an apple orchard in Shopian’s Chotigam village.
“Tell me will you not tremble and feel scared when such incident happens right next to you” Ms Dolly said.
Pandit homes in the village are now locked. They didn’t even stay back to sell their apple produce.
They have left behind thousands of apple boxes in the village entrusting their Muslim neighbours to dispatch them to mandis.
Chowderygund and Chotipora villages had 11 pandit families. All of them have now migrated to Jammu.
Ghulam Hassan, a villager who helped Dolly fence her compound, said her brother in Jammu asked her to move out of the village. He also said that Puran Krishan was the best human he knew in the village.
“It’s most tragic that he was killed. It’s after the recent killing, Pandits felt unsafe and left. None of these families had migrated even during peak of terrorism and unrest” said Mr Hassan.
The district administration, however, denied that the Pandit families were leaving due to fear over targeted killings.
“The reports are baseless. Proper and robust security arrangements have been made by the administration” said a statement issued by district administration.
“It’s clarified that due onset of winter and after harvesting period is over, many famines migrate to Jammu. There is no instances of migration due to fear in the district,” it added.
Ghulam Hasan Wagay, an ex-serviceman in the village said fear after recent targeted killings has driven pandits out of their homes and locals Muslims are now taking care of their apple produce.
Ms Dolly who usually grow around 1,000 apple boxes said she has entrusted her neighbor to take care of the harvest and dispatch apple boxes to Mandis outside Kashmir.
“I have also asked a neighbor to arrange shipment of apples to mandis. Now it depend on him what they will do” she said.
Ghulam Mohammad Shah, a 76-year-old man, said he will ensure not single apple or apple box is lost.
” I guarantee, not a single apple or box will be lost.. I feel very sad that they had leave their home” said Mr Shah.
In 1990, thousands of pandit families had migrated from Kashmir. Since then successive governments have made several efforts to bring back Kashmiri Pandits to the valley, but in vain.
Five Kashmiri pandits have been killed in the Valley in the last one year.
Due to fear of attacks, about 6,000 Kashmiri Pandit employees, who had returned to the Valley as part of centre’s special employment scheme, have not been going to their offices for the last six months to mark their protest against the targeted attacks.
They have been demanding their relocation to Jammu till the time security situation improves in Kashmir.