Security forces lay a cordon in Chotigam village after the civilian killing
Security forces lay a cordon in Chotigam village after the civilian killing

SHOPIAN — In a span of 102 days, militants targeted the Kashmiri Pandit (KP) community again by killing a KP farmer and leaving his brother injured. The death, however, displayed communal harmony yet again as a large number of Muslims took part in the last rites of the slain KP member in Chotigam, Shopian district of south Kashmir.

Kashmiri Pandits living in Chotigam, Shopian who didn’t leave Kashmir during the 90s were attacked again, resulting in the on-the-spot death of Sunil Kumar Bhat while as injuries to Petamber Nath Bhat.

On Tuesday, as news of the attack on Kashmir Pandits spread, Muslims of the locality rushed to the spot to take Pintoo to hospital and to console other pandits living there.

Three Pandits families comprising around 16 family members are living in this village who didn’t migrate during the 1990s.

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Sabzar Ahmad, a neighbour of Sunil and Pintoo, said that all arrangements for the last rites of Sunil were made by Muslims who were also consoling Pandits living here.

Eyewitnesses, as per the news agency KNO, said that Muslims made all arrangements for last rites and were seen raising slogans in favour of unity besides an end to innocent killings.

“We have always lived here peacefully and we share our grief and celebrations for decades,” said a Pandit living in Chotigam. He said the back-to-back attacks in the last four months have definitely raised the level of fear among them yet again bringing back the gory memories of the 90s.

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He said that guards were deployed here again in April but how can they save them every time as “we can’t restrict our movement to our residence only as we have to go to our land, orchards or to do any work to earn livelihood otherwise we will die of starvation.”

Pandits living there said that they were guarded by government forces till 2016, however, it was taken off during the Burhan agitation and since then, they were offered security several times but declined as they weren’t feeling any threat till April this year.

“But how guards deployed there can provide us security as we have to go to market, farmland and students have to go to school every day,” they said.

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