Srinagar: A day after he was shot dead by terrorists, Kashmiri Pandit bank guard Sanjay Sharma was cremated in his native village in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Monday, with his Muslim neighbours lending a helping hand to his grief-stricken family.
Lieutenant Governor (LG) Manoj Sinha condemned the killing and said those behind the “extremely unfortunate incident” will be taken care of by the security forces.
While the BJP held protests at several places in Kashmir against Sharma’s killing, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti visited his family and questioned the Centre’s claim that militancy has ended in the union territory.
Sharma was shot dead by terrorists 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 Muslims, officials said.
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.
He 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 terrorists this year. Last year, they shot dead 18 people, including three Kashmiri Pandits, a bank manager from Rajasthan and eight non-local workers, in 29 attacks in the Valley.
Speaking to reporters here, 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”.
“The situation today is much better but we are working towards making it a model situation,” he added.
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.
Meanwhile, the BJP held protests at several places in Kashmir against the killing.
The main protest was held in Jawahar Nagar area of the city where dozens of BJP workers demonstrated against the killing.
“Our Kashmiri Pandit brother was brutally killed in Pulwama. Terrorists have tried to disrupt the peaceful atmosphere established in the past three years under a well-thought-out conspiracy. We won’t allow it to happen,” said Manzoor Ahmad Bhat, head of the BJP’s Media and IT cell.
The protesters also burnt an effigy of Pakistan, holding the neighbouring country responsible for the killings.
“The BJP is protesting against Pakistan across the Valley today. We appeal to the LG administration to ensure security of minorities and take steps so that such incidents do not recur,” Bhat added.
Protests were also held in Kulgam on Monday and a candlelight vigil was organised against Sharma’s killing in Pulwama and Baramulla on Sunday night.
Leave a Reply