SRINAGAR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s effort to reintegrate the displaced Kashmiri Pandits in the valley suffered a major jolt as terrorists shot dead a community member in the Budgam district on Thursday.
Rahul Bhat, who worked in the Revenue Department at the Tehsil office in Chadoora Budgam, was shot dead by the terrorists inside his office. Bhat is survived by his wife and nine-year-old daughter.
“#Terrorists fired upon one employee namely Shri Rahul Bhat from #minority community in Tehsildar office Chadoora, #Budgam. He has been shifted to hospital.@JmuKmrPolice,” Kashmir Zone Police tweeted soon after the incident.
Officials said that terrorists entered the Tehsil office and opened fire on Rahul from point-blank range. They said he was shifted to a nearby hospital for treatment. Later he was shifted to premier SMHS for treatment. However, he succumbed to his injuries.
“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.@JmuKmrPolice,” Kashmir Zone Police said in another tweet.
Rahul was living in Sheikbagh Budgam Transit camp meant for Pandits.
The incident has sent shockwaves across the minority community living in Kashmir. The New Indian received several calls from minority community members expressing concern for their lives.
They have urged authorities to take urgent steps to protect minority communities that are being targeted by terrorists in Kashmir.
Hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris – many of them Hindu – were displaced from the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley after a spate of attacks by terror groups in 1989-90.
In recent times, the Central government made concerted efforts to reintegrate the displaced Pandits in the valley. A few hundred displaced Kashmiri Pandit families have returned in response to government programs to create jobs and shelters. But there is a fear among the minority community members that the recent killings will slow these efforts.
“Far from enabling their return, the fear now is that these killings have spread a fresh wave of panic and lead to a fresh migration of Pandits from Kashmir,” people from minority community The New Indian.
On October 7 last year, terrorists killed Supinder Kour, a Sikh who was a school principal, and Deepak Chand, a Pandit teacher, inside a government school in the city of Srinagar.
On October 5, terrorists killed three men in separate attacks: Makhan Lal Bindroo, a pharmacist from the Kashmiri Pandit community, Virender Paswan, a Hindu street-food vendor from Bihar state, and Mohammad Shafi Lone, a Muslim taxi driver. On October 2, gunmen killed Majid Ahmad Gojri and Mohammad Shafi Dar, both Muslims.