Another Kashmiri pandit shot dead

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DIG (south) says the victim was protected by the police and that investigations are underway to determine the reasons for the failure; LG and political parties condemn the attack

Srinagar: A Kashmiri pandit, whose house was guarded by police, was shot dead by terrorists in Shopian district of south Kashmir on Saturday, officials said.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Sujit Kumar said the Kashmir Freedom Fighter (KFF), the “proxy name of a terrorist group”, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Puran Krishan Bhat was attacked near his residence in the Chowdhary Gund area of ​​south Kashmir. He was rushed to Shopian Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead, they said.

Officials said the area was cordoned off and a hunt was launched to catch the attackers.

“Terrorists shot a (minority) civilian Puran Krishan Bhat as he walked to an orchard in Chowdhary Gund, Shopian. He was immediately transferred to a hospital for treatment, where he died. Area cordoned off. Searching ongoing,” Kashmir Area Police wrote on Twitter.

DIG Sujit Kumar said the initial investigation revealed that a terrorist shot Bhat.

“There was security, our guard, for this cluster. We examine the reason (for the failure). He had gone out on a scooter and had just returned home,” he added.

Kumar said that if there is any breach, action will be taken against security guards and area officials. Investigations are ongoing and more details will be released once things are clear, the officer said.

Reports from the field suggest that if the slain was a “protected person”, his residence, where he was shot, is a few hundred meters from the military camp.

Shopian Deputy Commissioner Sachin Kumar Vaishya said Bhat’s body will be taken to Jammu where the last rites will be performed. “All arrangements are made. We are extending assistance to the family.

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and political leaders condemned the killing.

“The attack on Puran Krishan Bhat by terrorists in Shopian is an act of despicable cowardice. My sincere condolences to the bereaved family. I assure the people that the perpetrators and those who aid and abet the terrorists will be severely punished,” a tweeted Sinha.

The National Conference condemned the “brazen and cowardly attack” and expressed “sincere commiserations” with Bhat’s family.

Condemning the attack, NC Chairman Dr Farooq Abdullah said: “I condemn the attack in unequivocal terms and express my sincere condolences to the bereaved family. I pray for the peace of the soul of the deceased.

Party Vice Chairman Omar Abdullah called the attack reprehensible. “I unequivocally condemn this attack in which Pooran Krishan Bhat lost his life. I extend my sincere condolences to his family. May the soul of Pooran Ji rest in peace,” he said in a tweet.

Democratic Azad Party Chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad also condemned the attack. “I am saddened beyond words to hear the news of the militant attack on Kashmiri Pandit PK Bhat at Shopian, J&K today. I strongly condemn this heinous act of violence. My heart goes out to Puran’s family Krishan Bhat. May the soul of the deceased rest in peace,” he wrote on Twitter.

PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti said, “They (the Kashmiri pundits) decided not to leave Kashmir and stayed with the people, with the Muslims, here. Today, he (Bhat) has been targeted after 30-35 years (since the insurgency broke out in the valley), even though there is so much security, so many forces.

“People are imprisoned in the name of hybrid terrorists, fired from the services when in doubt, but even then the BJP failed to provide security for the Kashmiri Pandits,” Mufti told reporters in Bandipora.

The former chief minister alleged that not only has the BJP failed to provide security for Kashmiri pundits, but that they will “go out and sell their blood to get votes in the elections”.

“The (Union) Home Minister (Amit Shah) came to Kashmir but didn’t even have 10 minutes for Kashmiri Pandit employees who have been protesting in Jammu for six months,” he said. she stated.

CPI(M) leader, MY Tarigami, said the government must provide ironclad security for minorities in the Kashmir Valley. “Grieved beyond words by the despicable attack that snuffed out the life of Puran Krishan Bhat. There seems to be no respite from the killing of innocents. Government must provide ironclad security for minorities,” he tweeted.

BJP General (Organization) Secretary Ashok Koul also condemned the “barbaric” murder and offered his condolences to the family.

In a statement, he said, “These anti-national elements will never succeed. These things will no longer be tolerated as these attacks are aimed at disturbing the peace in the region.

Apni Party Chairman Mohammad Altaf Bukhari said, “Unequivocally condemn the attack on Pooran Krishan Bhat in Shopian. My sincere condolences to his family. It is an act of despicable cowardice. That his soul rests in peace.”

The People’s Conference has declared that there can never be any justification for attacks like these.

The Congress, while condemning the killing, said the Modi government had failed to provide security for the Kashmiri Pandits.

“Very sad! Another Kashmiri Pandit Puran Krishna Bhat has been murdered in Jammu and Kashmir. The killing of Kashmiri Pandits is not stopping and the Modi government has failed to provide them with safety.

“There are reports that the administration is pressuring the family to perform the last rites earlier. Shameful,” Congress said in a tweet in Hindi.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also condemned the incident and said that “the bloodshed continues unabated in Kashmir and the BJP government as well as the LG administration are busy spreading demands for normality through numerical figures and treat the loss of precious human lives as a numbers game.

“Things are not going well in any setting as people are not even safe in their lawns and orchards where gunmen appear out of nowhere, fire volleys of bullets, take innocent human lives and then s ‘escape from the scene,’ AAP spokesman Nawab Nasir said. statement.

He said the loss of every human life regardless of caste, color, creed and religion is painful and society should stand up to condemn this inhumane act.

Bhat was a frequent Shopian visitor, never had a problem, relatives say

Puran Krishan Bhat was a frequent visitor to his hometown in Shopian district and never encountered any trouble. On Thursday, he had gone there to join his brother to attend their apple orchard.

He had moved his wife and two children – a son studying in class 5 and a daughter who is in class 7 – to Jammu following the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, otherwise they were all living in Shopian, said one of Bhat’s relatives is waiting for his body here.

As the news of his murder spread, a pall of sadness fell over the locality of Muthi, here on the outskirts of the city, which is also home to a large township of Pandit migrants.

Bhat’s wife and two children were in shock when relatives and neighbors, who rushed there, were seen consoling them.

“The news of his death came as a shock to us. They are thugs who don’t want any Indian nationalists in the valley,” said someone close to Bhat.

“The government must do something to stop these killings. What harm has he done to anyone? said a neighbor.

Bhat’s remains will arrive here late Saturday evening and cremation will take place on Sunday, officials said.

Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Ramesh Kumar, Additional Director General of Police, Jammu Zone, Mukesh Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, Avny Lavasa and other senior officers rushed to Bhat’s residence to express their condolences to family.

“All possible help will be provided to the family,” Kumar told reporters.

Angry KPs Block Jammu Road To Protest Latest Targeted Killing

Hundreds of protesting displaced Kashmiri Pandit employees, who were seeking relocation from the valley, blocked the Jammu-Akhnoor road on Saturday to protest against the latest targeted killing of members of their community in the valley.

Puran Krishan Bhat was shot dead by terrorists near his residence in Chowdhary Gund area, Shopian district, South Kashmir this afternoon, resulting in his death.

The pundits, employed under the prime minister’s employment scheme, have been protesting at the relief commissioner’s office in Jammu for the past five months following the murder of their colleague Rahul Bhat in Kashmir last May.

As news of Kashmiri Pandit’s latest murder broke, they emerged from the protest site and marched to the main road and blocked the highway, amid chants decrying the targeted killings and alleged government failure to deal with the situation. .

“Our worst fears have come true again with the last murder. We have already fled the valley, otherwise we think many of us have been killed,” said one of the protesters, Nikhil Kaul.

He said they had said the situation in the valley was not safe for them but “this government has remained unmoved and paid no heed to their calls for relocation”.

Yogesh Pandit, another protester, said the administration was trying to pressure them back into their jobs by issuing “death warrants” in the form of mandating biometric attendance and suspending their salaries.

“Bhat’s murder exposed the government’s claims that the security situation in the valley has improved. We will not return until the situation is back to normal,” he said.

Pandit said they had tried to reach the government through memoranda and protests for their relocation from the valley following the spate of targeted killings over the past year.

“This government is deaf, dumb and blind,” the agitated Pandit said, asking what was their fault for which they are being brutally killed by terrorists. (With PTI inputs)

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