The targeted killing of Hindu minorities has witnessed a recent surge in the Kashmir Valley. Small arms like pistols were used in all attacks. The rise in target killings is a big challenge for the security forces.
Timeline: Innocent civilians who were mercilessly killed by the terrorists
On June 2, 2022 night, a Bihar migrant labourer was shot dead by terrorists, while another was injured in Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam, hours after a bank manager was killed in a brazen attack in Kulgam district.
Police said the labourers, identified as Dilkush Kumar and Guri, were injured in the attack. Guri was discharged from the hospital, while Kumar was shifted to SMHS hospital in Srinagar, where he succumbed to his injuries.
On June 2, 2022, a terrorist barged into the bank premises of the Ellaquai
Dehati Bank branch at Areh Mohanpora in Kulgam district and shot dead the bank manager Identified as Vijay Kumar, 29.
Kumar belonged to the Rajasthan state of India. He was posted with the Ellaquai Dehati Bank at Areh Mohanpora in Kulgam district for the last 3 years. Police released CCTV footage of the incident, in which terrorists can be seen entering the bank premises and shooting the bank manager from a point-blank range with a pistol.
On May 31, 2022, a government school teacher namely, Rajni Bala, from Samba district, was killed by terrorists in Gopalpora Kulgam. She was a migrant Hindu scheduled caste and a teacher by profession and was posted in Kulgam in 2017. The local news agencies have said that the terror outfit, The Resistance Front’ TRF’, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Her killing has sparked a major uproar among Kashmiri Pandits, who threatened to undertake mass migration from the valley if they were not relocated to safe places within the next 24 hours.
On May 25, 2022, a famous Kashmiri television and social media actress Ambreen Bhat was killed by terrorists right outside her house. Her 10-year-old nephew had sustained bullet injuries as well. Ambreen was associated with TV for over 18 years, and she was the lone bread earner of the house. Police had said that three Lashkar terrorists were involved in the killing of Ambreen.
On May 15, 2022, Suhaib Ganaie, a resident of Turkwangam, was killed in crossfire during an encounter in his native village. On the same day, Ranjit Singh, who was an employee at a Liquor shop in Baramulla was killed when a grenade was lobbed inside the liquor shop.
On May 12, 2022, a Kashmiri Pandit, Rahul Bhat, was shot dead by terrorists inside his Tehsil office. Rahul was an employee of the revenue department in Kashmir. He had been given a job under the PM package for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley.
The Government, in a meeting, decided that all the non-locals and minority community employees would be posted in secure locations in the Valley. However, the Kashmir Pandit community has been demanding that they should be shifted to the Jammu region till the condition in the valley becomes conducive.
On April 15, 2022, Manzoor Ahmad Bangroo, Sarpanch of Goush-bugh village in Kashmir, was shot dead by terrorists. Bangroo was elected as an independent candidate and wasn’t affiliated with any political party. This murder comes as the valley is witnessing an increase in the number of targeted attacks. Earlier that week, local Rajput Ankit Singh was murdered by terrorists in the Kulgam region of Jammu & Kashmir.
In another incident of a targeted attack in April, one of the two remaining Hindu families in Chotigam village of Shopian district was shot by terrorists. Luckily, the target Bal Krishan Bhat survived the attack despite being shot.
On April 13, 2022, terrorists in the Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir fired upon a civilian named Satish Kumar Singh Rajput. He was immediately shifted to the hospital for treatment, where he succumbed to his injuries. He was a driver by profession and was a resident of Kakran in Kulgam.
Following this incident, the terror organization Lashkar-e-Islam issued a warning to Kashmiri Hindus to ‘leave Kashmir or get killed’ in a letter named ‘Letter to kafirs.’
On April 4, 2022, Bal Krishan Bhat (39), from the Kashmiri Pandit community, was killed by suspected terrorists near his home in Choutigam Shopian.
Reasons for change in the Modus Operandi of the Terrorists
J&K Police DGP Dilbag Singh said that those targeting minorities, civilians and people in government are “only propagating fear, since local residents have stopped responding to their diktat”.
He said that by attacking members from different parts of the Valley and from different sections of the society, “the terrorists want to show their presence.
Police had attributed this to the “killing of huge number of terrorists of all outfits, especially their leaderships, destruction of their support structures and continuous and effective maintenance of law and order”.
Police said terrorists had become “frustrated” and changed their modus operandi to target unarmed policemen, innocent civilians, politicians, and “now innocent civilians from minority communities, including women”.