Pandits protest in Budgam, Pulwama, block NH 44 in Anantnag
Anantnag: Kashmiri Pandit, an employee of the Revenue department in Budgam district, was shot at and killed by unidentified pistol-borne militants inside his chamber at the Tehsil office Chadoora in Budgam.
Following the killing, hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits, living in secure colonies in different parts of Kashmir valley, came out and blocked roads as they demanded immediate action by the authorities.
The slain man has been identified as Rahul Bhat. He was living in the Sheikhpora Pandit Colony in Chadoora, while he worked at the Tehsil office.
“He was shot inside the Tehsil office, leaving him grievously injured,” Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said.
He added that the injured Bhat was shifted to SMHS hospital in Srinagar where he succumbed to his injuries.
“Preliminary investigation suggests two pistol-borne men fired at Bhat inside his office,” Kumar said, adding that an investigation has been launched and the culprits will be brought to book soon.
Soon after the killing, hundreds of Pandits from Sheikhpora Pandit Colony came out on the road and held protest demonstrations.
Kumar visited the protestors and tried to pacify them but the protestors kept demanding a visit by the divisional commissioner to the spot.
Some of the protesters demanded the presence of LG Manoj Sinha. Neither of the two had yet visited the protestors when this report was filed.
“Is this the rehabilitation the Prime Minister has been talking about?” the protestors asked.
The protesters said that they will be forced to submit mass resignations and move back to Jammu. “What kind of a job is this where we do not even have a guarantee of our life, that too inside our offices,” they said.
Similar protests were reported from the Vessu area of Qazigund in Anantnag district, where members of the minority community blocked NH-44 for more than a couple of hours.
“The community is holding a peaceful candlelight protest to demand immediate justice,” the protestors said, adding, “We are also demanding security for our brethren.”
Pandits living in a colony at Nikas area of Pulwama district also held similar protest demonstrations. “We are scared for our lives. The attacks have continued on members of our community and nothing is being done by the administration,” they said.
The protestors questioned the intentions of the administration and asked how long the authorities will look the other way.
In October last year, a well-known chemist from the minority Pandit community, M L Bindroo, was shot at and killed near his shop in Srinagar.
Recently, another medical shop owner from the Pandit community was shot at and injured in Shopian district of south Kashmir.
There has been a heated debate over social media about the plight of Kashmiri Pandits, following the release of a Bollywood movie “Kashmir Files”.
Many Kashmiri Pandits living in Kashmir and Jammu voiced concerns after the release of the film that they might be targeted again now.