'Leave or face death': Terrorists threaten Kashmiri Pandits in Pulwama
Terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Islam has issued a threat letter to Kashmiri Pandits living in the Hawal Transit Accommodation in Jammu & Kashmir's Pulwama district. In the letter addressed to the migrant colony's president, the group warned all "migrants and RSS agents" to "leave or face death." This comes just days after terrorists assassinated Rahul Bhat, a Kashmiri Pandit public servant, in J&K's Budgam district.
- Kashmiri Pandits have been the target of militancy over the last three decades in J&K.
- Bhat's killing was the third attack against the community this year.
- In April, militants shot and injured Bal Krishan Bhat, a Kashmiri Pandit, inside his medical shop in Kulgam.
- Seven people died in October 2021, too, when terrorists carried out numerous attacks on Kashmiri Pandits and migrant workers.
In its letter, the terrorist group said there is "no space for Kashmiri Pandits who want another Israel in Kashmir to kill Kashmiri Muslims." "Double/triple your security, be ready for targeted killing. You will die," it added. Meanwhile, the government announced on Sunday it would beef up security in the residential areas of Kashmiri Pandit government employees in view of rising attacks against them.
As per reports, terrorists opened fire on Rahul Bhat, an employee of the revenue department in J&K's Budgam district, on Thursday afternoon. The incident took place at the Tehsildar office in Chadoora. Bhat sustained serious injuries in the incident. He was reportedly rushed to a Srinagar hospital, where he was declared dead. After Bhat's killing, there were large-scale protests by Kashmiri Pandits across J&K.
Questioning the safety of Kashmiri Pandits, the victim's father, Bitta Ji Bhat, a retired assistant police sub-inspector based in Jammu, asked, "Is this how the government will take us back home to the Valley?" "The government has totally failed to protect Kashmiri Pandits," he added.
J&K Lieutenant Governor (LG) Manoj Sinha on Sunday termed Kashmiri Pandit Bhat's killing in Budgam as "premeditated." He stated a Special Investigation Team (SIT) would probe the incident, adding it would also investigate the alleged use of coercion to disperse Kashmiri migrant protesters. Sinha's statement came after he held meetings with a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) delegation and the Gupkar Alliance.
The police said two militants shot Bhat at point-blank range with a pistol. Both militants have been neutralized, they added. Following the attack last week, a joint team of J&K Police, Army, and paramilitary forces cordoned off the area and a search operation was launched. According to a report by India Today, a little-known terror group, Kashmir Tigers, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Meanwhile, all major parties in J&K strongly condemned Bhat's killing. J&K PDP chief and former CM, Mehbooba Mufti, said, "It (the attack) exposes the false claims of normalcy in Kashmir." J&K National Conference leader and ex-CM, Omar Abdullah, also took to Twitter to attack the administration over the incident. The Gupkar Alliance also raised the issue of minority communities' security with Sinha on Sunday.