In yet another targeted killing, militants shot dead a manager of the Ellquai Dehati bank in south Kashmir’s Kulgam on Thursday. Reports indicated that the incident took place at the bank’s Arreh Mohanpora branch in Kulgam. The deceased manager was identified as Vijay Kumar of Rajasthan.
Initial reports suggest that Kumar was performing his duties when gunmen opened fire from a close range at him. To nab the attackers, security forces cordoned off the area after the incident, which has sparked fear among residents.
The attack came days after the killing of a teacher, Rajni Bala, by militants on Tuesday morning at Gopalpora in Shopian. She was a resident of Samba district in Jammu, and was working in Kashmir. Her killing took place days after the murder of Rahul Bhat, a migrant Kashmiri Pandit employed under PM’s Relief and Rehabilitation Package, in Kashmir.
Bhat was shot dead at Tehsil office Chadoora in Budgam on May 12 and his death was widely condemned by political leaders and civil society members. Bala’s killing triggered protests at several places by migrant Kashmiri Pandits working under the PM’s Relief and Rehabilitation Package.
“So very sorry to hear about the targeted killing of Vijay Kumar. Tweeting to condemn an attack & condole a death are becoming a mind-numbingly regular thing. It’s heartbreaking to see families destroyed like this,” NC vice president Omar Abdullah said in a tweet.
Apni Party chief Altaf Bukhari added that it was painful to witness targeted killings of civilians in Kashmir. “These dastardly acts of violence have devastated families… It’s shocking. Will words of condemnation be ever enough?” he wrote on Twitter.
People’s Conference chairman Sajad Lone termed the killing a heinous act and said he was at a loss of words to express his condemnation for such a heinous act. “Yet again extremely sad news coming in. An innocent civilian working as a manager in a bank in Kulgam has been shot dead,” he said on Twitter.
Joining in the condemnation, PDP general secretary Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura said such incidents unmask the fake claims of normalcy by the administration. “Yet another life lost, deeply saddening & condemnable. This place has been turned into a battleground by the high headedness of the admin, its fake claims of normalcy stand unmasked. Situation is far from normal & immediate steps need to be taken for redressal. My condolences,” the PDP leader said in a tweet.
BJP’s J-K spokesperson Altaf Thakur said the killing was a serious issue and a matter of concern.
“What a shameful act yet again. This time a bank manager of Ellaqui Dehati Bank Vijay Kumar of Rajashtan falls to the bullets of terrorists at Kulgam. Now terrorists targeting public servants too. A serious issue and a matter of concern. High time for security agencies to work out a strategy to stop this vicious cycle of violence,” he said.