Monday 23 May 2022
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Pandits rise against targeted killing of Hindus; police block march to Srinagar airport

The killing of the 35-year-old Rahul Bhat yesterday inside his office by two terrorists evoked protests from members of Kashmiri Pandits in Budgam, District Anantnag, and Jammu

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While their minuscule and scattered population often prove detrimental to raising a voice against persecution, and exodus of Kashmiri Pandits, members of the community in the valley assembled today for a march as Police used tear-gas shells and mild lathi-charge to foil the protest of dozens of Kashmir’s Hindus at Sheikhpora, Budgam, who were marching towards Srinagar International Airport. There are nearly 1,500 Kashmiri Pandits still living in government-constructed flats at Sheikhpora in Budgam besides other clusters in certain districts of Jammu and Kashmir.

Describing the police treatment meted out to the Hindus of Kashmir, journalist Aditya Raj Kaul wrote on Twitter: “Kashmiri Hindu protester faints after Police/CRPF brutal lathicharge and tear gas shelling in Kashmir. Is this what Hindus deserve for demanding justice and campaigning against Islamist terrorists?”

A Muslim police officer proved their bane eventually and not unexpectedly.

Chunni Lal Bhat, head of the Mandir Committee at Sheikhpora said that the local administration, particularly deputy commissioner Budgam Shahbaz Ahmad Mirza, was not paying attention to the plight of the Pandits who have returned from Jammu and other parts of the country “to live once again in their motherland”.

Commentator Abhijit Iyer-Mitra reacted more angrily. “The Indian state is attacking peacefully protesting Kashmiri Hindus. Not the INC or “3rd front” – this is the BJP. ढोंगी औरंगज़ेबी पार्टी”, he wrote.

“There are hundreds of government employees who got jobs under PM package putting up in government flats at Sheikhpora in Budgam. The migrant officials should have been posted at the headquarters, particularly inside the deputy commissioner’s office, which is a safe location compared to other far-flung areas like Khan sahib and other villages,” Chunni Lal said.

Pandits rise against targeted killing of Hindus; police block march to Srinagar airport

The Hindu activist said, “Unfortunately, the terror victim Rahul Bhat was recently shifted from deputy commissioner’s office to Tehsil office at Chadoora by the DC Shahbaz Ahmad Mirza even though he had pleaded for his stay in the DC’s office.”

The killing of the 35-year-old Rahul Bhat yesterday inside his office by two terrorists evoked protests from members of Kashmiri Pandits in Budgam, Anantnag, and Jammu.

The Pandits demanded, as they held protests yesterday, the presence of deputy commissioner Mirza at the Sheikhpora cluster and also wanted divisional commissioner Pandurang K Pole to visit the protesting local Hindus.

Deputy commissioner Mirza did visit the cluster in the morning but the yelling pundits raised slogans for his shifting.

Inspector general police, Kashmir range, Vijay Kumar, along with his men, was present at the site since last afternoon. The divisional commissioner, Kashmir, Pole later visited the protesting Kashmiri Pandits at 10.30 PM yesterday, according to Chunni Lal.

The protesters, however, on Friday said that Lieutenant governor Sinha should visit the returnee Kashmiri Pandits at Sheikhpora in Budgam.

Dozens of Pandits assembled outside the migrant colony Sheikhpora, Budgam to register their protest. “We had informed the administration and police that LG should visit the spot and give us assurance about our protection and ensure culprits involved in the killing of Rahul Bhat won’t be spared.

But LG didn’t arrive at the spot and we were left with no option other than to march towards Srinagar airport,” a protester said.

The protestors were shouting slogans, “DC Budgam hai, hai; Kaatil Ko Pesh Karo”.

The protestors later on Friday tried Marched towards Srinagar airport. However, police prevented them to march towards Srinagar airport and fired a few tear smoke shells.

“The protesters were pushed back and barred from proceeding towards the Airport,” the protesters said.

Officials said some miscreants among the protestors pelted stones at the police forcing the cops to use mild force to quell the protestors. “The situation is under control at present,” they said

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