Srinagar: A Hindu woman teacher was shot dead on Tuesday by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kulgam district, following which Kashmiri Pandits, employed under the PM package, threatened to undertake mass migration from the valley if they were not relocated to safe places within the next 24 hours.
The killing of Rajni Bala (36), who belonged to Jammu’s Samba district but was posted at a government school in Gopalpora, Kulgam, is the second killing of a non-Muslim government employee in May and the seventh targeted killing in Kashmir this month.
Police officials said Bala was injured in the attack and taken to a nearby district hospital where she was declared dead.
Earlier, officials had said she was a migrant Kashmiri Pandit.
An official said the area was cordoned off and a manhunt launched to track down the assailants.
“Those involved in this gruesome terror crime will be soon identified and neutralised,” a police spokesperson said.
The woman’s killing evoked widespread condemnation in the Valley.
National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah said Bala’s killing gives a vivid picture of the prevailing security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
“A female teacher, who was living there (in Kashmir) was martyred. This shows how much is peace prevailing in the state. This shows how much safe we are,” Farooq Abdullah said.
His son and NC vice president Omar Abdullah expressed grief and said the government needs to do much more to protect people.
“Very sad. This is yet another targeted killing in a long list of recent attacks directed at unarmed civilians. Words of condemnation & condolence ring hollow as do the assurances of the government that they will not rest till situation normalises. May the deceased rest in peace,” he tweeted.
“Rajni was from Samba District of Jammu province. A government teacher working in Kulgam area of South Kashmir, she lost her life in a despicable targeted attack. My heart goes out to her husband Raj Kumar & the rest of her family. Another home irreparably damaged by violence,” he added.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said despite the Centre’s claims of normalcy in Kashmir, targeted killings were on the rise.
“Despite GOIs fake claims about Kashmir being normal its obvious that targeted civilian killings are on the rise & a deep cause of concern (sic). Condemn this act of cowardice which sadly plays into the vicious anti Muslim narrative spun by BJP,” she tweeted.
Jammu and Kashmir Congress strongly condemned the targeted killing and termed the situation in the valley worrisome claiming that the government has failed to stop selective killings in Kashmir.
The government has failed to ensure the safety of innocents especially soft targets like minorities, migrant and Jammu employees and outside workers, JKPCC Chief Spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said.
Peoples Conference chief Sajad Lone also condemned the killing, saying cowardice has yet again plummeted to shameless depths.
“A teacher, an innocent woman hailing from Samba, has been shot dead in Kulgam. May her soul rest in peace,” he said.
Jammu Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) President Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari said,” The targeted killing spree has created havoc and absolute insecurity among the masses. Nobody is able to understand why innocent people are being gunned down”.
“How long will this mindless bloodshed continue and what would the perpetrators achieve by killing innocent people? Unless people unite to raise their voices against these killings, they will not stop,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir BJP President Ravinder Raina blamed Pakistan for the attack .
Coward Pakistani terrorists have killed an innocent Hindu teacher. The sacrifice will not go in vain and this killing will be avenged, Raina said.
The way the killers of Rahul Bhat and Amreen were brought to justice, these killers will also be neutralised soon even if they try to hide. These Pakistanis will not be spared, he remarked.
This is second killing of a non-Muslim government employee in the month of May. On May 12, Rahul Bhat, a clerk, was shot dead inside the tehsildar’s office in Chadoora tehsil of Budgam district.
Of the seven targeted killings that took place in Kashmir this month, three victims were off-duty policemen and four were civilians.
Meanwhile, Kashmiri Pandits, employed under the prime minister’s package, have threatened to undertake mass migration from the valley if the government did not relocate them to safe places within the next 24 hours as employees from the community hit the streets at various places to protest against the teacher’s killing.
We have decided that if the government did not take any concrete steps for us (safety) within 24 hours, there will be mass migration again, one of the protesters said here.
He said the target killing of Kashmiri Pandits is continuing and the community is now tired of making appeals to the government.
We are asking for temporary relocation for two to three years till the situation in the valley returns to normal, he added.
Some Kashmiri Pandit employees assembled at the Ghanta Ghar (Clock tower) at Lal Chowk here to protest against the killing while another group gathered at Batwara in Sonawar area of the city and raised slogans against the Union Territory administration, officials said.
In south Kashmir’s Qazigund town, Kashmiri Pandit employees blocked one of the tubes of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, they said.