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Kashmiri Pandit Killed in Targeted Attack Near His Residence in Pulwama

Anees Zargar |
The attack comes just two days after a civilian identified as Asif Ganai was targeted by suspected militants in the Bijbehara area of South Kashmir.
Kashmiri Pandit

Image for representational purpose. Credit: The Indian Express

Srinagar: Suspected militants on Sunday shot dead a member of the minority community in Achan village of Litter area in South Kashmir's Pulwama district evoking sharp criticism in the union territory. 

The Jammu and Kashmir police identified the victim as Sanjay Sharma, a local of Pulwama, working as an armed security guard. He was shot at from a close range whilst he was on his way to the local market. Immediately after the attack Sharma, a Kashmiri Pandit, was rushed to the hospital but the police later said that he succumbed to the bullet injuries. 

The police posted in the area said that they have since launched an investigation and cordoned off the area to track the attackers. 

The attack comes just two days after a civilian identified as Asif Ganai was targeted by suspected militants in the Bijbehara area of South Kashmir on Friday. Ganai however survived the attack and his condition is said to be stable. His father Ali Mohammad Ganai, a head constable with J&K Police was killed in a similarly targeted killing last January. 

The attack on the minority community member has renewed fears of similar attacks that caused fear and subsequent demand for relocation of the Pandit community employees. 

The prominent group which represents the Kashmiri Pandit minority in the region Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti (KPSS) in a statement lashed out at the authorities for failing to protect the minorities from such attacks in the region. 

“Govt and BJP4India canot handle 75 lakh Kashmiri Population and want to control PoK and Balochistan. Kashmiri  Pandits are killed like dogs in Kashmir and HMO India and office of LG J&K sensor the information that Kashmir most dangerous place for KPs in this world (sic)," KPSS tweeted. 

The political parties condemned the attack on Sharma terming it dastardly and a reflection of the deteriorating situation in the region. 

"The vicious cycle of killings doesn't seem to end. GOI has failed to protect minorities in J&K & reduced them to sitting ducks. Everyone here is paying a heavy price for this facade of normalcy. My deepest condolences to his family," Mehbooba Mufti of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) said.

The killing was also mourned by others including National Conference, People's Conference and Apni Party leadership. 

"Deeply saddened to hear of the demise of Sanjay Pandith of Achan in Pulwama district of South Kashmir. Sanjay was working as a bank security guard & was killed in a militant attack earlier today. I unequivocally condemn this attack & send my condolences to his loved ones," NC vice president Omar Abdullah tweeted.

Condemning the attack senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) M Y Tarigami said that the attack has once again brought back the uncertainty caused last year due to such attacks against civilians. 

"Condemning in no uncertain terms the killing of Sanjay Pandith in Pulwama. The unfortunate incident has again raised the spectre of last year's despicable targeted killings in the Valley. Sharing the pain and grief of the bereaved family," he said in a statement.

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