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Police Use Tear Gas, Batons To Quell Protests Against Kashmiri Pandit’s Killing

A government employee was shot dead inside his office by militants in the Chadoora area of Budgam district.

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Video Inputs: Faizan Mir

Video Producer: Anthony Rozario

Video Editor: Harpal Rawat

Massive protests by Kashmiri Pandits erupted in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday night, 12 May, after a government employee identified as Rahul Bhat was shot dead inside his office by militants in the Chadoora area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district.

The police resorted to firing tear gas shells and using batons when a group of protesters attempted to proceed towards the Srinagar Airport.

Meanwhile, PK Pole, the divisional commissioner of Kashmir said on Friday:

"Candle-light protest held over killing of Rahul Bhat, this evening. The administration will address all service-related matters within a week. Permanent housing of 1500/ 5000 (people) completed, remaining will be done before winters."
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A police official told that the gunmen fired upon the migrant employee in the local Tehsil office, at Chadoora on Thursday afternoon. Bhat was immediately shifted to Sub District Hospital where from he was shifted to SMHS hospital for specialised treatment.

“The injured was immediately brought to SMHS Hospital, Srinagar for treatment where he succumbed to his injuries,” the official said, adding, “Preliminary investigation reveals that two (militants) (were) involved in this heinous crime and have used a pistol for committing this crime.”

Rahul Bhat.

(Photo: Muneeb Ul Islam/The Quint)


The protestors, including government officers and their families, camped at the migrant colony at Vesu-Qazigund in the Anantnag district and demanded that the Lieutenant Governor administration should ensure that Kashmiri Pandits are safe in the valley.

Meanwhile, police fired tear gas shells at protesters to prevent them from moving towards from Budgam to Raj Bhawan in Srinagar to meet Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.

Some protestors stated that if the administration failed to provide security, the Kashmir Pandits employed as government employees, will resort to mass resignation from their respective posts.

J&K Police Issues Statement on the Incident

J&K police later issued a statement on the incident. "While sensing the security of the protesters who had resorted to violence & neglected the pacification requests by administration and to thwart evil designs of ANEs, police were constrained to finally hurl few teargas smokes to disperse them," J&K police said.

"However, the protesters again re-assembled at Sheikhpora road and sat on protest & blocked the main road. Later on, all of them went back to their home," the police added.

‘Nobody Protected Him’

Last rites of Rahul Bhat were conducted on Friday Bantalab. Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Jammu Mukesh Singh, Divisional Commissioner Ramesh Kumar, and Deputy Commissioner Avny Lavasa also reached the cremation ground.

After Bhat’s killing, his wife said, “He used to say everyone behaves nicely with him and nobody can harm him. Yet nobody protected him, they must have asked someone about him, otherwise, how would they have known.”

Speaking on similar lines, Bhat’s father said, “First, they asked who Rahul Bhat is and then they shot him. We want inquiry. There was a police station 100 feet away. There must have been security at office but nobody was there. They should check CCTV footage,” news agency ANI reported.

Members of Kashmiri Pandit Employees Association also protested at Anantnag demanding justice on the killing of Rahul Bhat.

A protestor named Aparna Pandit was quoted as saying, “If the Administration can lathicharge and tear gas the public, then could they not have caught the terrorist yesterday?"

Sandeep Bhat, a member of the association, asked the government to “re-locate us to places where we feel rehabilitated".

‘Take Tough Decisions to End This Atmosphere of Instability’: Sanjay Raut

Speaking on Bhat's killing, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP-led) government and said, "Don't know how many Kashmiri Pandits returned to Kashmir in last seven years. Home Minister needs to think seriously about this. Let's not keep pointing fingers at Pakistan, but see what can we do for Kashmiri pandits," ANI reported.

He added, "If even after the abrogation of Article 370 from J&K, Kashmiri Pandits are not returning and those living in Kashmir are not safe. You (Centre) have to take tough decisions to end this atmosphere of instability that is building in J&K."

Condemning the killing, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said, “I strongly condemn the barbaric killing of Rahul Bhat by (militants) at Budgam. Those behind this despicable attack will not go unpunished,” he said in a tweet.

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and party’s vice present Omar Abdullah also condemned the killing.

Farooq, MP from Srinagar said:

"I unequivocally condemn the dastardly attack on Rahul Bhatt. The sole purpose of such dastardly and heinous acts is to vitiate the atmosphere of Kashmir. I condemn the killing in the strongest possible terms. My heartfelt condolences to Rahul’s family."

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted:

“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.”

Many of those protesting were seen carrying candles as a mark to register their protest.

The Kashmiri Pandit community members have also demanded the government to launch a probe into the incident to bring the culprits to justice.

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Topics:  J&K   Kashmiri Pandits   Militants 

Edited By :Padmashree Pande
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