JAMMU: Government employee Rahul. Bhat , a Kashmiri Pandit, who was shot dead by terrorists inside his office in central Kashmir’s Budgam district, was cremated on Friday amid protests by members of the community in Jammu.
Rahul was shot inside the tehsil office in Chadoora town on Thursday. He was working as a clerk under the special employment package for migrants in 2011.
As the mortal remains of Rahul reached his home in Durga Nagar area of Jammu on Friday morning, his relatives wept inconsolably.
Rahul’s wife Meenakshi Bhat was totally shattered while his seven-year-old daughter Kritika was trying to cope up with the tragedy.
The mother-daughter duo was putting up with Rahul Bhat at Sheikhpora Migrant Colony in Budgam.
Meanwhile, a large number of community members gathered at Rahul’s house in Jammu to attend the last rites.
Agitated over the targeted killing, the community members, including Rahul’s family, accused the BJP-led government at the Centre of making young Kashmiri Hindus ‘cannon fodder’ in the name of rehabilitation of the community as in valley the government has failed to stop the killings.
As per the reports, around 14 people belonging to Jammu and Kashmir’s minority Hindu community, including Kashmiri Pandits, have been killed by militants in various parts of Kashmir between August 2019 and March 2022.
Infuriated over Rahul’s killing in the government office – a place to be considered as a safe zone, the angry mourners said the incident has shattered their dream of resettling permanently in the valley.
In the name of giving them jobs under rehabilitation of KP community, a relative of Rahul said, “They (government) have made the Kashmiri Pandit community an easy target for terrorists.
Rahul’s father Bita Bhat briefly said, “an inquiry should be ordered into the incident to identify all those involved in this cold-blooded murder.”
With acrimony he said, “I was at a hospital accompanying my ailing brother when a family friend called from Kashmir and informed about the incident but no government official contacted us.”
“I tried to contact the Budgam deputy commissioner Budgam and the concerned police officers but my calls remained unanswered,” he said adding though 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.
Terming goverment’s failure to stop such target killing to terrorise minorities in valley, he said, “If a employee is shot inside his office, nobody is safe in the valley.”
“And if such thing happens, it is a glaring example of government’s failure, he said adding those serving (minority persons) there in the valley are doing it at their own risk as the government has failed to provide security to them.
Rahul’s wife Meenakshi said, “he used to say everyone behaves nicely with him and nobody can harm him. Yet nobody protected him. I have lost all, what’s left for me,” she said wailing and gasping for breath.
Earlier Rahul’s brother Sunny Bhat performed the last rites at Bantalab cremation ground amid chants of “long live Rahul Bhat.
Jammu and Kashmir BJP president Ravinder Raina, former deputy chief minister Kavinder Gupta and party leaders, who attended the funeral had to face the ire of the community members as they raised slogans against the central government, lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha and the saffron party.
The protesters also blocked the road.
Rahul’s neighbours said he was a thorough gentleman and the news of his killing came as a shock for them.
Meanhile BJP OBC Morcha staged protest against Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir.
The morcha leaders said Pakistan is a terrorist country and it doesn’t understand the language of peace. It understands language of our army.
They demanded another surgical strike on Pakistan.
Panun Kashmir also organised an emergency meeting of the political affairs committee to take stock of the developments following the killing of Rahul Bhat.
The meeting also condemned the use of force and teargas against the Kashmiri Pandits who had come out on the streets to protest the killing.