CitysIndiaJammuJammu & Kashmir (Srinagar-S*, Jammu-W*)Union Territories

Protests erupt in J&K following the murder of a Kashmiri Pandit

The targeted killing of yet another Kashmiri Pandit in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district sparked a new round of protests in the Valley on Monday, as political parties attacked the government’s claim that normalcy has returned to the region and members of the community demanded the removal of Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Manoj Sinha.

On Sunday, terrorists opened fire on Sanjay Sharma, a Kashmiri Pandit and resident of Achan in Pulwama, as he made his way to a local market. Hundreds of Kashmiris gathered for Sharma’s funeral. The 45-year-old bank security guard passed away in the hospital due to his injuries.

Many community members assisted Sharma’s family with the final ceremonies. Much high-ranking police personnel, including Vijay Kumar, assistant director general of police (Kashmir Zone), visited the region and assessed the current state of law and order.

“I do not wish to remain. Tomorrow, I fear that they will also murder me. Where will my three children then go? Who will take care of us now?” asked Sunita, the wife of Sharma.

After calls for their elimination by Pakistan-backed militants in 1990, the Sharmas decided to remain in the Valley and did not evacuate with the bulk of Kashmiri Pandits who did so. The killing, the first of a Pandit since October 2022, brings the total number of community members killed since the previous year to five. In addition, eight migrant workers have been killed. All of the murders have been committed by terrorist organisations.

The Dogra Front, a Jammu-based organisation comprised of social, religious, and political groups working for the rights of the Dogras, held a rally in Pulwama, demanding that the offenders be brought to justice and punished severely.

“We are protesting and demanding harsh punishment for those responsible for the murder of Pandit Sanjay Sharma. “We ask the L-G to arrest the accused,” a local citizen who wished to remain anonymous remarked.

Another citizen, who also wished to remain anonymous, stated, “We’ve always lived in harmony in Jammu and Kashmir, and today we oppose the murder of Sanjay Sharma. Regardless of the religion or caste of the murder victims, justice must be done.”

Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS), a significant Pandit organisation in the Valley, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union interior minister Amit Shah to replace L-G Sinha.

“KPSS most humbly, with folded hands, request the Hon’ble Prime Minister and Hon’ble Home Minister to rest their personal agendas and self-conceit and take the issue seriously and replace the current Lt. Governor immediately for letting the militants kill the Kashmiri Pandits for some vested agenda and vendetta to malign the ruling political party at the national and international level,” the organisation said in a statement.

It further stated that an order should be issued “to launch a merciless operation against militants and their allies in order to protect the lives of innocent Kashmiri Pandits and other religious minorities residing in Kashmir Valley.”

In the Valley, the administration should “stop toying with the situation in Kashmir and endangering the lives of Kashmiri Pandits and other religious minorities,” according to the report.

While Yatish Yadav, the L-media G’s advisor, did not answer Deccan Era calls and mails, Sinha vowed to punish those responsible for Sharma’s murder.

“This is a very tragic occurrence. There are not enough words to condemn the murder. “Our security forces will take care of whoever is responsible,” he told reporters.

Even though such instances can cause people to question the security situation, he stated that the administration and security personnel were employing a “360-degree approach.”

Political parties condemned the administration in light of the murder.

Mehbooba Mufti, president of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), criticised the government’s claim that normalcy had been restored in the Union territory.

“The administration asserts that militancy has gone. Who killed him (Sharma) if this were the case? What are the government’s actions?” After visiting Sharma’s residence, she remarked.

“The government should provide his widow with a job. She continued, “Because many people of the community work here, they must be provided with adequate protection, or they will go.”

The BJP also condemned the murder and conducted demonstrations in Srinagar and the town of Baramulla in north Kashmir.

President of the J&K BJP Ravinder Raina, along with party leaders Sofi Yousaf and Altaf Thakur, visited the deceased’s home and assured the family of aid from the government. He stated, “His (Sharma’s) murder is barbaric and a grave evil that must be denounced.”

In December, the home ministry informed Parliament that nine Kashmiri Pandits had been slain in specific attacks in the Valley since 2020, one in 2020, four each in 2021 and 2022.

Local administrations report that about 4,000 Kashmiri Pandits are employed in various government offices in the Valley as a result of their selection under the Prime Minister’s employment package. In November, in response to the targeted killings, the staff protested outside the office of the Jammu relief commissioner for several days, requesting relocation out of the Valley.

(With agency inputs)


Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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