Terrorists on Sunday shot dead a 40-year-old Kashmiri Pandit man in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district while he was on his way to a local market, in yet another targeted killing of a minority community member in the valley.
Sanjay Sharma, who worked as an ATM guard, was shot in the chest at point-blank range barely 100 metres from his residence in the Achan area of the south Kashmir district at around 11 am, police said, adding he was rushed to a hospital by passersby but succumbed to injuries.
He was not reporting to duty of late following an earlier spate of terror attacks on his community members, his colleagues said.
”Terrorists fired upon one civilian from minority namely Sanjay Sharma S/O Kashinath Sharma R/O Achan Pulwama while on way to a local market,” the Kashmir Zone police said on Twitter.
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Deputy Inspector General (DIG), South Kashmir Range, Rayees Bhat said it was a ”planned attack”.
He said armed security guards had been placed on duty in the village.
“We had security in place here as well. Under what circumstances this attack took place is a matter of investigation. We will proceed further based on what comes out of these investigations,” he added.
”We are sifting through the information that we have received so far. The terrorists involved in this crime will be soon tracked down and neutralised…. We will not allow the terrorists to succeed in their evil designs,” the DIG said.
It was the first attack on a member of the minority community in Kashmir this year.
Last year, terrorists carried out nearly 30 attacks on civilians, killing 18 persons including three Kashmiri Pandits, a bank manager from Rajasthan, a woman teacher from Jammu and eight non-local workers.
Political parties condemned the killing.
”Deeply saddened… Sanjay was working as a bank security guard and was killed in a militant attack earlier today. I unequivocally condemn this attack and send my condolences to his loved ones,” National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah said in a tweet.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti accused the BJP-led Centre of failing to protect Kashmiri Pandits. The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister also hit out at the perpetrators of the attack.
Talking to reporters here, she said, ”A few days ago, right-wing terrorists killed two Muslims in Rajasthan. Today, you have killed a Hindu. What is the difference between you and them?” Mufti accused the BJP government of endangering the lives of minorities in Kashmir while projecting a picture of normalcy in the valley.
“Any killing, especially target killing, is a matter of grave concern and condemnable. We condemn it,” former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said.
NC’s chief spokesperson Tanvir Sadiq said it was an unfortunate incident. ”As the majority community, we should ensure the protection of the minorities,” he said, adding that the government has failed in its duty.