“Obviously it is the government’s fault,” Sheen Bharti, Ajay Pandita’s daughter to the Centre

Larkipora’s sarpanch Ajay Pandita Bharti’s daughter puts the Union Government in the dock, seeks answers, and justice

SarpanchImage Courtesy:organiser.org

Larkipora’s sarpanch Ajay Pandita Bharti, who was shot dead two days ago, had constantly been asking for security, His request had fallen on the deaf ears of the Jammu and Kashmir administration and the Union Government which administers the Union Territory. Girish Chandra Murmu, a 1985 batch Indian Administrative Services officer, is the first Lieutenant Governor of the Union territory that was formed under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019. Murmu is a handpicked officer of the Gujarat cadre.

The late Ajay Pandita Bharti, too, was one of a kind, a brave Kashmiri pandit, who returned to the Kashmir region to serve his people. He had many plans, and his life was cut short  just because the state did not give him the security he needed, even though he had apprised them of the many threats he was getting. His words continue to haunt everyone who has seen what possibly was one of his last news interviews.

Now, after he was brutally gunned down, Sheen, Pandita’s brave young daughter, has controlled her tears and repeated what her father had been saying all this while. She was speaking to the Aaj Tak news channels and has demanded answers from the Union government and sought justice for her father Ajay Pandita. She reminded the nation that the government had not provided Ajay Pandita security, he had perhaps asked for it on multiple occasions.

“My father had asked for security. No one asks for security without reason,” she says. Ajay Pandita for sure feared for himself, and his family “anyone will fear for their families, when he asked for security it was for a reason,”she added. Sheen says when Ajay was elected Sarpanch, it was in fact the government’s responsibility to give him security. “So why did they not give security? He was asking for what he should have got anyway. He did not get it even after he asked. Whose fault is it? Obviously it is the government’s fault,” she does not mince words and has put the Bharatiya Janata Party in the dock.

The young woman says this apathy from the authorities is the reason no one comes forward to do something for the country. “The ones who do something for the country are not given anything. This is why a lot of people step back,” she says. Sheen adds that if her father’s death is not avenged and his killers not arrested it will send a wrong message to the country. “First he had to ask what he should have gotten, even after asking he did not get it. What more can I prove? What more can I tell India? He had added ‘Bharti’ after his name,” she says. 

Sheen remembered that her father always said if something happened to him his identity should be India, “that is why he added ‘Bharti’ to his name, he loved India so much. He was not a soldier. You know when you join the army, or become a police officer you know you are risking your life. You come ahead yourself, to serve India,” she says her father did all that and more even if he was not one of the men in uniform. 

She says she is proud of all the soldiers too, “I am not saying those men are insignificant. They are very brave people. I am so proud of them. Now even more than before.” But as a sarpanch, a civilian the young woman rightly points out that her father did more than most civilian leaders could ever attempt. “There are so many sarpanches in villages, what do they do, they look after the village. They just need to sign and the work is done. But my father loved India, not just his little village.”

His work and his deeds would have taken him far had he lived, “he would have served india. He would never have stepped back,” says the proud daughter,

Even though she was brave and spoke with a maturity far beyond her years, Sheen’s anger was palpable, “he was serving the country. When will the country serve him… it is not even the question of [serving ] him. It is about responsibility. A little bit of responsibility”, she asked.

She once again reminded viewers that unlike trained army and police officers very few civilians would risk their lives to work for the people in the Kashmir valley, “Kashmiri pandits were so scared of going to Kashmir. He went. He did all that he could; he wanted to do more than what he had done. I know. He shared everything with me,” she adds, saying that her father had big plans for the village and the Union Territory, and eventually wanted to serve the Country. 

Her composure, and her voice trembles when she remembers how her father wanted her to grow up to become an IAS officer, “and then both of us will do things together,” she remembers him telling her. 

“Now what can I say? What can I do? My only request from the government is to find those people. Those who did this had no fear?  They came forward and said yes we have done it!” Sheen Pandita has put the ball in the Union Government’s court now.

Larkipora sarpanch Ajay Pandita Bharti too had asked: “I ask the Union Territory government, has our Lieutenant Governor even met sarpanchs or panchs? Does he know Ajay Bharti? No!” His voice was firm.

His murder had been condemned by all political leaders, across party lines, though an official response on the allegations of being denied security that he had once made, is still awaited. 






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