Killing of Kashmiri Pandits: Police fire tear gas shells at protesters

At Sheikhpora, Budgam, Kashmiri Pandits protest against the terrorist killing of Chadoora Tehsil office employee Rahul Bhat

Since the Kashmiri Pandit government employee was shot dead by terrorists inside his office at Chadoora in Budgam district on Thursday, protests have been held across Jammu and Kashmir.

A terrorist gunned down Rahul Bhat in the Tehsil office in Chadoora town after he got a job as a clerk under the special employment package for migrants. According to Sandeep Bhat, a member of the Kashmiri Pandits association, after the targeted killing, they demanded safety. “We demand that the government relocate us to places where we feel rehabilitated,” he said.

“The LG administration must provide us with security, otherwise we will resign in mass numbers.” said Amit, a Kashmiri Pandit.

Candlelight marches took place at several locations.

A wailing and shrieking cries filled the house as mourners, including neighbours and family, rushed to comfort the family after hearing about Bhat’s death. He is survived by his parents, wife and a minor daughter. He lived at Sheikhpora migrant colony in Budgam district with his wife and daughter.

The selective killings by terrorists in south Kashmir’s Mattan, according to Rakesh Koul, are a cause for concern for the entire community, especially those serving in the valley. As he consoled the bereaved family members, he said, ‘We risked our lives and returned to Kashmir with a vision of rebuilding a connection with our roots. Despite being a thorough gentleman, Bhat’s neighbours were shocked to learn about his killing.

Despite party lines, politicians condemned the killing and called for stern action against those responsible. Ravinder Raina, J&K BJP president, said, ‘The coward Pakistani terrorists have once again bled Kashmir with the cold-blooded murder of Bhat. The perpetrators of the killing will not be spared. Our security forces will eliminate them.

A policeman in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir was shot dead by terrorists at his residence today, in another major attack in less than 24 hours. In Gudoora in the district, Constable Reyaz Ahmad Thokar was shot and died shortly afterwards. He was rushed to the Army’s 92 base hospital, but died later that day.