Angry Kashmiri Pandits block Jammu road to protest latest target killing by militants in Valley

JAMMU — Hundreds of protesting displaced Kashmiri Pandit employees, who are seeking their relocation from the valley, on Saturday blocked Jammu-Akhnoor road to protest the latest targeted killing of their community member by militants in the valley.

Puran Krishan Bhat was fired upon by militants near his residence in the Chowdhary Gund area of south Kashmir’s Shopian district this afternoon, resulting in his death.

The Pandits, employed under Prime Minister’s employment package, are on protest at relief commissioners office in Jammu over the past five months following the killing of their colleague Rahul Bhat in Kashmir last May.

As the news of the latest killing of Kashmiri Pandit broke out, they came out of the protest site and marched towards the main road and blocked the highway, amid high pitch sloganeering to denounce the target killings by militants and the alleged failure of the government to deal with the situation.

“Our worst fears have once again come true with the latest killing. We have already fled the valley otherwise we feel many of us have been done to death,” one of the protesters, Nikhil Kaul said.

He said they have been saying that the situation in the valley is not safe for them but “this government remained unmoved and paid no heed to their pleas for relocation.”

Yogesh Pandit, another protester, said the administration is trying to pressure them to rejoin their duties by issuing “death warrants” in the form of making biometric attendance mandatory and stopping their salaries.

“The killing of Bhat exposed the government claims about the improved security situation in the valley. We will not return till the situation becomes normal in true sense,” he said.

Pandit said they have tried to reach the government through memorandums and protests for their relocation from the valley following the series of targeted killings over the past one year.

“This government is deaf, dumb and blind,” the agitated Pandit said, asking what was their fault for which they are being brutally killed by militants.

Rashtriya Bajrang Dal activist also joined the protesters and set ablaze an effigy of Pakistan to condemn the frequent target killings by militants in the valley. — (PTI)