'Think About Our Safety, Our Lives': Pained Neighbour of Killed Kashmiri Pandit

Latest in a string of attacks on Kashmiri Pandits, Sunil Kumar was shot dead by militants on Tuesday, 16 August.

3 min read
Edited By :Tejas Harad

Video Inputs: Faizan Mir, Wasim Nabi

Video Producer: Mayank Chawla

Video Editor: Mohd. Irshad Alam

"Think about our security, our lives, our safety," said Anil Kumar, a pained Kashmiri Pandit whose brother, Sonu Kumar, was shot at and grievously injured in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian district on 9 April this year.

Anil spoke to The Quint from the home of Sunil Kumar, another Kashmiri Pandit from Shopian who was shot dead by militants on Tuesday, 16 August. Anil was his neighbour.

Kumar went on to allege that after the attack on his brother, he approached several officers, including the divisional commissioner, and urged them to provide them security, however, divisional commissioner responded by saying, 'live in your village and die there, nothing lies in my hands and I can't do anything for you.'”

Speaking to The Quint on Tuesday, he added, "If the divisional commissioner can't do anything, then who can?" He further asserted that "only the commissioner is responsible for the killing."

In the area gripped by fear and alarm, aggrieved locals said that among several families, only three Kashmiri Pandit families, who didn't leave the Valley in the 1990s, currently reside in the region.

Sonu, who survived the attack, only visited his village today after the killing of his neighbour.


What the Commissioner Said

Divisional Commissioner PK Pole, speaking on the occasion, refuted the allegations and said, "We have already deployed guards here and every possible step is being taken for the safety of the minority communities."

”We condemn this incident. There have been regular attacks on the people living in different districts of the Valley. We had deployed guards here,” he said, adding, “We are trying our best to improve the situation here and an investigation has been started.”

'We Share Our Grief Since Decades': Kashmiri Pandits, Muslims at Last Rites

Meanwhile, Subzar Ahmad, another neighbour of Sunil and Pintoo said that all arrangements for the last rites of Sunil were made by Muslims who were also consoling Kashmiri Pandits living here.

Eyewitnesses added that all arrangements of last rites were made by Muslims in the area, who were also seen raising slogans in favour of unity besides end to innocent killings.

While acknowledging the escalation in attacks and the consequent terror in the region, another Kashmiri Pandit stressed, “We have always lived here peacefully and we share our grief and celebrations since decades."

Kashmiri Pandits living there said that they were provided government security till 2016, however, it was taken off during the Burhan Wani agitation and since then, all offers of security were declined as they did not feel any threats till April 2022.

The local from the minority community added, "We can't restrict our movement to our residence only, as we have to go to our land, orchards or to do any work to earn livelihood, otherwise we will die of starvation."


The Attacks on Tuesday

The militants had fired at Sunil Kumar Bhat and his brother Pintu Kumar Bhat in an apple orchard on Tuesday. While Sunil died on the spot, Pintu sustained injuries and is currently undergoing treatment.

The police said that the incident had taken place in Shopian's Chotipora area.

"Terrorists fired upon civilians in an apple orchard in Chotipora area of Shopian. One person died and one injured. Both belong to minority community. Injured person has been shifted to hospital. Area cordoned off," the Kashmir Zone Police said in a tweet.

As per locals, Pintu's health condition is stable, and search to nab the attackers is underway.

This is the second such attack on a minority community member in a 24 hour-period in the Kashmir Valley.

At late evening on Monday, another member of the minority community was injured after militants hurled a grenade at Gopalpora village in Budgam district.

Meanwhile, LG Manoj Sinha, as well as several political leaders from the Valley, have condemned the attack.

"Pained beyond words on despicable terror attack on civilians in Shopian. My thoughts are with the family of Sunil Kumar. Praying for speedy recovery of injured... Terrorists responsible for barbaric act will not be spared," the LG said in a statement.

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Topics:  Kashmir   Kashmiri Pandits   Kashmir Valley 

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