Jammu: Mourners flocked the house of a Kashmiri Pandit government employee shot dead by terrorists inside his office in central Kashmir’s Budgam district Thursday, as his family and relatives waited for his body and the father demanded a probe into the incident.
Rahul Bhat, who had got the job of a clerk under the special employment package for migrants in 2011-12, was gunned down by terrorists inside the Tehsil office in Chadoora town.
”His body should be returned immediately and an inquiry ordered into the incident to identify all those who are involved in his cold-blooded murder,” his father Bita Bhat said at his Durga Nagar residence in the outskirts of Jammu.
Wails and shrieks filled the house as mourners including neighbours and relatives rushed to comfort the family after hearing about the killing of Bhat, who was in his early 30s. ”I was at a hospital accompanying my ailing brother when a family friend called from Kashmir and informed me about the incident. I tried to contact the deputy commissioner of Budgam and the concerned police officers but my calls went unanswered,” the father told the media persons, trying to put up a brave face and hold up his emotions.
He said it was the responsibility of the deputy commissioner to at least inform the family as his employee was killed inside his office chamber in broad-daylight.
“If a person is shot inside his office, nobody is safe in the valley…when such a thing has happened it is a glaring example of the government’s failure. Those serving (among the Kashmiri Pandits) there are doing it at their own risk as the government has failed to provide security to them,” he said.
Tears rolling down her cheeks, Rahul Bhat’s mother Babli asks the government to ”return” her son. A relative of Bhat broke down before the media. “They have taken our children for dying there and not for jobs.” Bhat is survived by his parents, wife and a minor daughter. His wife and daughter were putting up with him at Sheikhpora migrant colony in Budgam district.
Rakesh Koul, the BJP municipal councilor in south Kashmir’s Mattan, said the selective killings by terrorists is a cause for concern for the whole community, especially those who are serving in the valley.
“We have risked our lives and returned to Kashmir with a hope to rebuild a connection with our roots,” he said, as he tried to console the bereaved family members. Bhat’s neighbours said he was a thorough gentleman and the news of his killing came as a shock for them.
Politicians cutting across party lines condemned the killing and demanded stern action against the perpetrators of violence.
“The coward Pakistani terrorists have once again bled the Kashmir by the cold-blooded murder of Bhat…those behind the killings will not be spared and will be eliminated by our security forces,” J&K BJP president Ravinder Raina said.