KP slain member cremated, Muslims neighbours grief-stricken, help with last rites: Pulwama, Kashmir

Lt Guv Manoj Sinha accused of transferring the SP and SSP days before gives ‘employment certificate to widow

Kashmiri Pandits
Image: IANS

Srinagar: A day after he was shot dead, lone Kashmiri Pandit in the village, bank guard Sanjay Sharma was cremated in his native village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Monday, with his Muslim neighbours lending a helping hand to the grief-stricken family reported PTI. Sharma was shot dead allegedly by militates on Sunday morning barely 100 metres from his home in Achan in Pulwama when he was on his way to the local market. He was rushed to a hospital by passersby but he succumbed to the injuries. The mortal remains of Sharma, 40, were consigned to the flames as per Hindu rituals amidst the presence of his family members and neighbours, including an overwhelming number of Muslims, officials said. It was the Muslim neighbours helped his family members in performing the last rites, they said.

“We condemn the murder. We stand by the bereaved family. As soon as the news of the incident broke yesterday, people were ready to provide all help — blood, money or anything else — to save him. Unfortunately, he succumbed on the way (to hospital),” said a local resident, Bashir Ahmad Malik told the media. He also said the killing was a setback for the Hindu-Muslim harmony in the village which has existed since centuries. “This is not the murder of one individual, this is the murder of humanity. The people of this area are as bereaved as the family of the victim,” Malik said.

Sharma became the first victim of targeted killings by militants this year. Last year, 18 persons were brutally shot dead by militants, including three Kashmiri Pandits, a bank manager from Rajasthan and eight non-local workers, in a total of 29 attacks in the Valley.

Both on the day of the killing and next day, last night, Feb 27 again the Pulwama Kashmiri Collective went to Achan and held a candlelight vigil. Large numbers had gathered for this vigil.

Meanwhile, the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti called for a hartal yesterday that had a mixed response. The KPSS had issued a strong statement against terrorism and the political ineptiture of the union government.

Meanwhile in an act of irony given that it came a year after the killing, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday handed over a government job appointment letter to Suneeta Pandith, wife of Suneel Pandith, a Pandit shot dead by terrorists in Shopian last year. The L-G handed her the job letter at Raj Bhavan in presence of her family members in Jammu.

Speaking to reporters in Anchal LG Sinha said, “It is an extremely unfortunate incident. No words are enough to condemn the killing. Whoever has carried out the act, our security forces will take care of them.” He said such incidents can create doubts in the minds of people about the security scenario, but the administration and security forces are working “with a 360-degree approach”.

This reaction by the authorities has not been greeted well by opposition parties. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, who visited the bereaved family, said Kashmiri Muslims are ashamed over Sharma’s killing and hit out at the government for claiming that normalcy has been restored in Jammu and Kashmir.

“The government claims to have ended militancy. If that is the case, who killed him (Sharma)? What is the government doing,” Mufti asked while talking to reporters.

“We are the same people who put everything at stake in 1947 to protect the Kashmiri Pandits, Hindus and Sikhs living in the Valley when the subcontinent was reeling under communal riots,” she said.


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