SRINAGAR: Kashmir’s leading pharmacy owner ML Bindroo who was killed by militants a day ago was cremated on Wednesday in Srinagar. Throughout the day people visited the residence of Pandit ML Bindroo, the 68-year-old who was shot dead by unidentified gunmen at his shop. Among those who paid condolences were Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs. On the manicured lawn at the residence, they sat on chairs next to each other in shared grief.
At one corner, a group of mourners talked about the terrible incident. Nobody spoke of the possible killers. Their concerns were coming out of shock. Why did they do it? What would they achieve? And how were these killings being exploited by politicians for their gains?
“For politicians it is a routine,” said a close relative of the Bindroo family. “For others it is an incident. But the incident would leave a scar on the family and the new generation.”
While he was talking about it, a kid, perhaps a 4-year-old, was busy in his world, sprinkling water on the grass of the lawn which was about to turn yellow as autumn sets in. “Do not do that, beta (son). It will wet the feet of those who will walk over it,” said someone to the kid. The kid left, brought another bottle, and continued to sprinkle the grass.
“This is his grandson. Five years down the line, how would he remember what has happened today?” the relative told the mourners.
“What times have arrived,” another one said. “In the 1990s, one would know who killed whom. But today, it is a question that nobody can answer.”
“Today we have children who are drug addicts. There are people spilling acid on women’s faces. There are civilian killings on a daily basis,” said another.
These questions figured in the conversation because Bindroo had not left Kashmir in the 1990s when most of his community members did. Another close relative said that his two brothers had already passed away but they lived outside Kashmir. One had left Kashmir in the 1990s when he was threatened to leave, another chose to do so on his own. He was working in a private company.
But Bindroo chose to stay. He handled his father’s pharma retail business. He established a big clinic and pharmacy stores, one run by himself and another by his wife.
On Wednesday, within an hour of Bindroo’s killing, two more civilians were killed, one a non-local vendor in Srinagar, another a local taxi driver in Bandipora district.
“What is behind these civilian killings? How are they happening when there is a whole network and mesh of security forces keeping a vigil on everything,” asked one mourner.
Bindroo’s home is located between two government forces camps at the highly fortified area of Indira Nagar. One of his boundary walls adjoins an army camp. The entrance is guarded by troops. At least four men in uniform have been on guard since Tuesday evening.