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Kashmiri Pandit sarpanch killed by terrorists cremated

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: June 09, 2020 15:46 IST
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Deceased sarpanch and Congress leader Ajay Pandita, who was shot dead by terrorists shot dead in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, was cremated in Jammu earlier on Tuesday.


IMAGE: The mortal remains of Kashmiri Pandit sarpanch Ajay Pandita being carried for cremation, in Jammu, on Tuesday. Photograph: PTI Photo

His father said that Pandita worked for common people and was brave.

"The terrorists fired on him from the back as they feared him," he said.

A relative of Pandita said that he had asked for security cover but no security was allocated to him.

Pandita, sarpanch of the Larkipora area in Anantnag district and a member of the Congress party, was shot at by terrorists in his native village at around 6 pm on Monday, a police official had said.

He said Pandita was rushed to a hospital where he succumbed to injuries.

A Congress spokesman, while condemning the killing, said Pandita was a dedicated party worker.

No terrorist outfit has claimed the responsibility for the killing so far.

Union minister Jitendra Singh condoled the killing of Pandita and said it is a 'desperate attempt' by anti-national elements to defeat the process of grassroots democracy in the Union Territory.

Singh, minister of state for personnel and the Lok Sabha member from Jammu and Kashmir's Udhampur constituency, expressed anguish over the sarpanch's killing.

"It is a desperate attempt by anti-national elements to defeat the process of grassroots democracy, which is sought to be established in Jammu and Kashmir for the first time at the instance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he said.

IMAGE: The sister of Pandita mourns near his mortal remains, at their residence in Jammu, on Tuesday. Photograph: PTI Photo

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said violence will never win in Kashmir, as he condoled the death of Pandita.

Gandhi said Pandita sacrificed his life for the democratic process in Kashmir.

'My condolences to the family and friends of Ajay Pandita, who sacrificed his life for the democratic process in Kashmir. We stand with you in this time of grief. Violence will never win,' he said on Twitter.

Cutting across party lines, mainstream political parties condemned the killing of Pandita.

'Very sorry to hear about the killing of sarpanch Ajay Pandita in Anantnag earlier this afternoon. I unequivocally condemn this terror attack on a grassroots political worker & pray that his soul rests in peace,' National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said in a tweet.

The People's Democratic Party also condemned the killing but trained its guns at the government.

'Left in lurch by the system and hounded by those revolting against it, such is the dismal state of political workers. What can someone hope to achieve by silencing those actively serving poor and marginalised? We vehemently condemn such brutal assassination of Mr Ajay Pandita ji,' the PDP tweeted.

IMAGE: Family members mourn Pandita who was shot dead on Monday evening by terrorists in Anantnag district of South Kashmir. Photograph: PTI Photo

The Congress demanded a judicial enquiry into the gruesome incident.

"The killing of Ajay Bharti (Pandita) is a mindless and shameful act which needs exemplary punishment against those behind it," a party spokesman said.

He said the party demands a judicial enquiry into the killing of the sarpanch to fix responsibility.

"The deceased Ajay Bharti, apprehending attack on his life, had written to Govt for security cover, which was reportedly denied to him. As a result, Bharti lost his life in a gruesome attack," the spokesman said.

The Jammu and Kashmir Bharatiya Janata Party said Pandita's killing is a desperate attempt by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists to fail the ongoing peace process in the Union Territory.

"The BJP condemns the killing of KP Sarpanch from Anantnag. It is a desperate attempt of Pakistan-sponsored terrorists to fail ongoing peace process in J-K," Jammu and Kashmir BJP president Ravinder Raina said.

The party General Secretary (Organisation) Ashok Kaul also condemned the killing.

Pandita hailed from the Doru area in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Raina said Pakistan and its sponsored terrorists are shaken by the successive successful operations by Indian security forces.

While strongly condemning the killing of the 35-year-old Pandita, Jammu and Kashmir Vishwa Hindu Parishad working president Rajesh Gupta expressed shock and grief and said killing of Hindus in Kashmir is a cause of concern for every right thinking person in the country.

He said merely strong words would not be enough to condemn the killing.

Such actions, he said, cannot stop the return of Hindus to Kashmir.

Senior Congress leader Karan Singh termed the killing of Pandita as a 'despicable act' and said targeting him was part of the continuing attempt to disrupt grassroots political structure.

Singh, the former Sadr-e-Riyasat of Jammu and Kashmir, said regardless of party or religious factors, this act needs to be severely condemned.

"That Pandita belonged to the minority community makes his killing even more painful. My deep condolences and sympathy to the bereaved family," the former governor of J&K said.

IMAGE: Pandita's mother mourns near his mortal remains, at their residence in Jammu, on Tuesday. Photograph: PTI Photo

Several Kashmiri Pandit organisations condemned the killing of Pandita, calling it an attempt to 'trigger fear psychosis' among the minorities in the Valley.

The groups urged the central government to provide security to Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) and other minority community members living in Kashmir.

"It is a planned attack by Islamic terrorists to target minority Kashmiri Pandit community in Kashmir valley to trigger fear psychosis among them like they did in 1990s. We condemn the killing of a Kashmiri Pandit," All Party Migrant Cooperation Committee (APMCC) chairman Vinod Pandita said.

He said several terrorists outfits have threatened to 'blow up' KPs if they return to the proposed colony for Pandits.

"This is a clear threat to KPs by terrorists and their overground workers... Nothing has changed for KPs since 1990 in Kashmir," Vinod Pandita said.

The All State Kashmiri Pandit Conference demanded that terrorists involved in the killing be neutralised within 24 hours.

"It is a deliberate plan to target KPs to create fear among them. We condemn this cowardice act," ASKPC General Secretary Dr T K Bhat said.

He said abrogation of Article 370 generated a hope among the minority KPs that they could return to Kashmir, but this killing was a plan to stop their rehabilitation in the valley.

Panun Kashmir said it was a continuance of genocide and ethnic cleansing of minority community members in the Valley.

All India Kashmiri Pandit Conference also termed it an act of cowardice as 22 terrorists were killed in past 24 hours.

All India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS) demanded security to the minority community members.

Sampoorn Kashmir Sanghathan condemned the killing of the sarpanch.

IMAGE: Members of Kashmiri Pandit community raise slogans during a protest condemning the killing of Sarpanch Ajay Pandita in Anantnag district by terrorists, in Jammu, on Tuesday. Photograph: PTI Photo

SKS President Anoop Koul demanded immediate action against the killers.

"Shocking beyond words. May God grant peace to the departed soul. Highly reprehensible act. Community continues to be a soft target. We demand beefing up of security to all our political leaders and elected representatives", Kashmiri Pandit Sabha, Jammu, President K K Khosa said.

Youth All India Kashmiri Samaj demanded action against the killers.

An organisation representing Kashmiri Pandits in the United States also condemned the targeted killing of Pandita.

The targeted killing of Pandita proves that the ethnic cleansing of the minority Kashmiri Hindu community in the Valley continues unabated, Indo-American Kashmir Forum (IAKF) said on Monday.

His gruesome, public murder is a reminder of the havoc brought upon the entire Kashmiri Hindu community driven from their homeland in the Kashmir Valley over the past few centuries, most recently beginning in 1990, the organisation said in a statement,

Denouncing the local government's lackadaisical approach to the security needs of Pandita, as well as other lower-tier public officials, the IAKF demanded that the Kashmiri Hindus who still live in the valley be given extra police protection until peace is restored in the Valley.

In its statement, the IAKF also condemned Pakistan, and its supporters within the Kashmir Valley, for promoting, funding, aiding and harbouring global terror organisations such as Lashkar-e-Tayiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), and The Resistance Front (TRF).

'The Resistance Front (TRF), which has taken responsibility for Pandita's brutal murder, is merely a new, consolidated name for Islamic terrorists from the three groups already active in Kashmir - HM, LeT and JeM,' IAKF said.

-- with ANI inputs

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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