Srinagar: Anger has spread across Kashmir after a pandit revenue official was killed in Chadoora village of Budgam district on Thursday.
Terrorists barged into the Tehsildar’s office at Chadoora and shot Rahul Bhat from point-blank. He was rushed to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
Pandits living in transit camps have been protesting all through the night demanding culprits be brought to book.
“I strongly condemn the barbaric killing of Rahul Bhat by terrorists at Budgam. Those behind this despicable terror attack will not go unpunished. J&K Govt stands in solidarity with the bereaved family in this hour of grief,” tweeted Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.
More than 4000 Pandits are living in transit camps across Kashmir. Most of them are government employees appointed under the PM’s special package launched in 2010.
The 36-year-old Bhat was working in the Budgam district for the past 10 years. He is the third Kashmiri Pandit to be killed in the past six months. Two others have been injured.
In October, seven civilians were killed. The slain include a Kashmiri Pandit, a Sikh, and two migrant Hindus.
“If rehabilitation costs life, we will prefer to resign en mass and flee Kashmir. We are becoming soft targets of militants,” said a Kashmiri pandit
Protestors blocked the Srinagar-Jammu national highway at Qazigund leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded for hours. A massive protest was also held at Sheikhpora, Budgam outside the migrant colony
Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Vijay Kumar visited Sheikhpora, Budgam to express solidarity and sympathy with the colleagues of the slain employee.
Protests also spread to Jammu where Kashmiri pandits raised slogans against Pakistan. “Pakistan hai hai…Jis Kashmir ko khoon se seencha, who Kashmir hamara hai. Minorities ko Surkasha do…” chanted pandits during Rahul’s last rites
“Ethnic cleansing started in 1986. They want to expel Kashmiri pandits. We have been saying Bharat Mata Ki Jai and that is why we are being targeted. We want the LG administration to provide foolproof security to minorities,” said a pandit mourner in Jammu.
The killing has shaken the entire Kashmir with local Muslims too joining the mourners demanding justice. “This is highly unfortunate. Islam says killing one innocent is like killing the entire humanity. We stand in solidarity with our pandit brethren,” said a local Kashmir Muslim in Budgam.
Politicians cutting across political and ideological divide too condemned the killed. they demanded justice for Rahul Bhat.