Months after a Kashmiri Pandit man was seriously injured in a terrorist attack at the Chotigam area of Shopian, a second attack in the same village has left another Hindu dead, with one more injured. The deceased was identified as Sunil Kumar and the injured as Pintu, both sons of Arjan Nath.
According to a local source from the village, the attack reportedly took place in an apple orchard where the slain had engaged some labourers. The current period marks the season for apple picking in the Kashmir valley with most of the rural households spending time in their orchards.
The killing has left the locals in deep shock as this comes just after months of a terrorist attack on Bal Krishan Bhat, a chemist based in the village.
“It has been four months. No one listened to us. We have been left here to die. The divisional commissioner and the district magistrate are responsible for this murder. Do we not have to live here,” Anil Bhat, deceased Pandit’s neighbor told while grieving over the attack.
“After the attack on my brother, I approached the DM four times for my own safety and also the divisional commissioner. They paid no heed. Divisional Commissioner said, we have nothing in our hands, and asked us to die here in our village,” he added.
The Chotigam area has just two Pandit families living there while other houses have been deserted there by people from this community since the nineties. Falling in the hotbed of terror, this village is adjacent to one of the largest Army facilities in the area, the Behibagh camp.
Earlier in April, Jankinath was out with his Muslim neighbor when his son Bal Krishan Bhat, who ran the sole medical shop in Chotigam, was killed inside his pharmacy. Now, on Tuesday (August 16), two brothers were shot. The two families live adjacent to each other.
“Terrorists fired upon civilians in an apple orchard in Chotipora area of #Shopian. One person died and one was injured. Both belong to the minority community. The injured person has been shifted to hospital. Area #cordoned off. Further details shall follow,” said a police spokesman.
Responding to the incident, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha tweeted, “Pained beyond words on the despicable terror attack on civilians in Shopian. My thoughts are with the family of Sunil Kumar. Praying for the speedy recovery of the injured. The attack deserves the strongest condemnation from everyone. Terrorists responsible for barbaric act will not be spared.”
Former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah said, “Terribly sad news from South Kashmir today. An accident & a militant attack have left a trail of death & suffering. I condemn the militant attack in Shopian unequivocally in which Sunil Kumar was killed & Pinto Kumar injured. My condolences to the family.”
Chemist Killed In April
On April 4, 2022, two men arrived on a motorcycle, wearing pherans, unusual in the weather. One of them stepped down and entered the medical shop run by Bal Krishan Bhat as the other turned around the motorcycle.
There were four loud shots and the pheran-wearing man came out, tucked a pistol into his belt, took the pillion seat on the motorcycle, and vanished.
“He came out walking. The entire body was drenched in blood. He was shot twice in the chest and in his arm. He was shouting for help,” said Anil Bhat, the brother of Bal Krishan Bhat.
Krishan, a Kashmiri Pandit, was shot by unknown gunmen on April 4. He had been grievously injured and was admitted to a hospital in Srinagar.
The two families have never left Kashmir despite every other family leaving for Jammu in the nineties. After an attack on Bhat, the government sent some security personnel who were in charge of their security. The forces had occupied an empty Pandit house and were stationed just adjacent to both families.