One killed in attack on Kashmiri Pandits in Shopian

KPSS appeals to Kashmiri Pandits to leave the Valley
Kashmiri panditsImage: NDTV

In yet another attack on Kashmiri Pandits in the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir, suspected terrorists shot at two brothers in Shopian. While Sunil Kumar Bhat died after suspected militants opened fire in an apple orchard in Chotipora village, Pertimber Nath Bhat survived. 

The Indian Express quoted a police statement: “Preliminary investigation revealed that terrorists had fired upon two civilians in an apple orchard at Chotipora area of Shopian district. In this terror crime incident, two civilians, identified as Pertimber Nath Bhat, son of Arjun Nath Bhat, and Sunil Kumar Bhat, son of Sri Ji Bhat, both residents of Chotigam Shopian, belonging to minority community, received critical gunshot injuries.” It further said, “Both the injured were immediately shifted to hospital where one of the injured persons, Sunil Kumar Bhat, succumbed to his injuries. The condition of the other injured person is stated to be stable.”

As this is yet another instance of an attack on the Kashmiri Pandit community in the past few months, members of the community are feeling increasingly vulnerable and helpless. This has prompted the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS), an organisation that advocates for the rights of non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits, to appeal to all community members to leave the Valley.

The organisation tweeted saying, “Judiciary and Government have failed miserably to protect Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir Valley,” and therefore it appealed to “all Kashmiri Pandits to leave Kashmir”, alleging that the terrorists had “support from local population”.



The Kashmiri Pandit community has had a turbulent past, with thousands forced to leave their homes in the late 1980s and early 1990s by Pakistan-backed militants in the region. However, even today over 800 non-migrant Kashmiri Pandit families still live in the Valley, mostly in refugee camps.

Tuesday’s attack comes just days after a migrant worker from Bihar, Mohammed Amrez, was killed in Bandipore. Migrant workers, Kashmiri Pandits and members of the minority Hindu community have been constantly in the crosshairs of terrorists in Kashmir, with a spate of killings taking place here since October 2021.

On October 5, 2021, Makhan Lal Bindroo, a well-known Kashmiri Pandit businessman who ran two medical stores in Srinagar including one started by his family in 1947, was shot dead by suspected militants. The fact that this killing took place at his shop in the high-security zone of the Iqbal Park area of Srinagar, was also shocking. Mohammad Shafi Lone who was a resident of Naidkhai village, and headed Sumo Car Stand, an association of taxi owners in Shahgund village in Bandipora was also killed on the same day as was migrant worker, Virendar Paswan, who hailed from Bhagalpur in Bihar and worked as street food vendor.

Others killed include Rahul Bhat, who worked at the revenue department in Budgam as a PM Package employee, Rajni Bala and Supinder Kaur, both school teachers.

Migrant labourers have been targeted in the state previously as well. In June, terrorists shot at two migrant labourers from Bihar – Dilkhush Kumar and Guri, who were working as brick kiln labourers in Magraypora in Chadoora. While Guri survived, Dilkhush died.

Militants have also targeted members of the Muslim majority community if they are either migrant workers or seen as having sympathy for their fellow Hindus or harbouring pro-India sentiments. Kashmir television artist Amreen Bhat was also gunned down by suspected militants.  



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