Protests rocked various areas of the Kashmir Valley after the killing of a Kashmiri Pandit, Rahul Bhat, an employee with the revenue department in Kashmir. Rahul was shot at by terrorists in Tehsildar office Chadoora, of Budgam district.
The Kashmiri Pandit community took out protests in central Kashmir, South Kashmir as well as the North to condemn the killing. Jammu and Kashmir Police said that two terrorists were involved in carrying out the attack and shot Rahul with a pistol.
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”Terrorists fired upon one employee namely Shri Rahul Bhat from the minority community in Tehsildar office Chadoora, Budgam. The injured was immediately brought to SMHS Hospital, Srinagar for treatment where he succumbed to his injuries. Preliminary investigation reveals that 02 terrorists are involved in this heinous crime & have used pistol for committing this crime,” said Vijay Kumar, IG Kashmir.
It’s the first time since the 90’s that the Kashmiri Pandit community has come out to protest against a killing. Migrant Kashmiri Pandits who have returned to Kashmir under the Prime Minister’s rehabilitation package staged a protest and blocked the main Srinagar-Budgam Road outside their security colony in the Shiekhpora area. Protests by Kashmiri Pandits were reported from the Veesu and Mattan areas of Anantnag in South Kashmir as well.
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The LG of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha condemned the attack and said, ”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”.
Politicians from Kashmir Valley have also condemned the killing and called it a gruesome murder. ”Condemn the gruesome act where in a Kashmiri Pandit boy Rahul Bhat was murdered in chadoora. Another life ended and another family devastated. My heart goes out to the bereaved family in this hour of grief. It also belies the false claims of normalcy in Kashmir,” said Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
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Omar Abdullah, Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir also tweeted and said, ”I unequivocally condemn the murderous militant attack on Rahul Bhatt. Rahul was a government employee working in the Tehsil office in Chadoora where he was attacked. Targeted killings continue & a sense of fear grows unchecked. My heartfelt condolences to Rahul’s family. RIP”.
There has been an increase in the target attacks on Kashmiri Pandits and other non-locals in the valley in the last few months. It has raised a lot of fear among the minority communities living in the Valley.
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