SRINAGAR: Terrorists killed a Kashmiri Pandit employee of the revenue department in his chair at the tehsil office in Chadoora, Budgam district, in a targeted attack on Thursday.
Clerk Rahul Bhatt (35) was shot dead by two terrorists wielding pistols. Eyewitnesses said he was shot thrice. “One bullet hit him in the right side of the chest while two bullets pierced the left side, damaging the heart, doctors at a Srinagar hospital said.
Bhatt lived in the Kashmiri Pandit cluster of Sheikhpora, Budgam, along with his wife. He belonged to Beerwah, also in Budgam; the rest of his family, including his parents, had already migrated to Jammu.
Scores of Kashmiri Pandits staying at various transit camps in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district took to the roads to protest against the killing. The protesters, many of whom were seen carrying candles, demanded a probe into the incident to bring the culprits to justice. Kashmiri Pandits living in the Sheikhpora cluster demanded that the divisional commissioner and deputy commissioner of Budgam district come there and hear their complaints regarding their safety in the valley.
Police said “The Resistance Front”, a Lashkar-e-Taiba shadow outfit, carries out targeted killings in the Kashmir valley, particularly of migrant workers, members of the minority communities, and off-duty police personnel.
In the first week of April alone four workers from outside the region were shot and injured by TRF terrorists in the southern districts of the Kashmir region.
On March 19, terrorists had shot and injured a non-Kashmiri carpenter in Pulwama district. The injured person, Mohammad Akram (40), hails from Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh.
On April 3, truck driver Surinder Singh and Dheeraj Dutta of Punjab were injured after being fired at by terrorists in Nowpora Litter area of Pulwama district. They had been sleeping in their truck when they were attacked.
On April 4, terrorists carried out three attacks in Srinagar and Pulwama, killing a CRPF man injuring four people, including two workers from Bihar and a Kashmiri Pandit.
On April 5, terrorists attacked two CRPF men at the busy Maisuma chowk, in the heart of Srinagar city. While head constable Vishal Kumar succumbed to his injuries, the other CRPF member survived the attack. On the same day, terrorists shot and injured two non-local labourers — Patleshwar Kumar and Jako Chowdhary, both from Bihar — at Lajoora, in Pulwama district.
On April 7, a truck driver from another state was shot and injured by suspected militants in Yader area of Pulwama.
Since August 2019, 14 Kashmiri Pandits and Hindus have been killed by suspected militants in different incidents.
In March this year, eight targeted killings were reported in the valley. Among the slain, four were from central Kashmir’s Budgam district alone, namely Sameer Ahmad Malla, an Armyman abducted from his home and killed later; Tajamul Mohiuddin Rather, a civilian who was shot dead outside his home in Gotpora area of Budgam; and an SPO, Ashfaq Ahmad Dar, and his younger brother, Mohammad Umar Dar, in Chattbug village.
In south Kashmir’s Shopian, an off-duty CRPF man was shot dead by suspected militants.
There have also been several attacks on panchayat members, police personnel and soldiers in the recent past.
Beginning October 2, 2021, terrorists killed seven civilians, including three Hindus and a Sikh woman. On October 7, the principal of the government boys’ higher secondary school, Eidgah, namely Supinder Kaur of Aloocha Bagh in Srinagar, and Deepak Chand (38), a teacher from Jammu, were shot dead on the school premises in downtown Srinagar.
The killing of Hindus began with the killing of a locally well-known medical shop owner, Makhan Lal Bindroo, a Kashmiri Pandit. He was shot dead by terrorists in his shop at Iqbal Park, Srinagar, on October 5. He had stayed behind in the Valley even as thousands of people from his community had left when militancy erupted in 1990.
There were two more killings that same evening — Virender Paswan of Bhagalpur, Bihar, who sold golgappas in old Srinagar’s Lal Bazar area of old Srinagar city, and Mohammad Shafi Lone of Naidkhai, Bandipora, who was president of the local taxi drivers’ association.
According to data shared by the police, militants have shot dead 28 civilians, including five local Hindus/Sikhs and two non-local Hindu labourers, this year. Akash Mehra, the son of the owner of the popular eatery Krishna Dhaba, was shot by militants on February 17, 2021.