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Use of force against Kashmiri Pandit protesters to be probed: Lt Governor Sinha

The Jammu and Kashmir lieutenant governor also says that the Union Territory administration will transfer Kashmiri Pandit employees to safer places in a week’s time, in the wake of the militant attacks on them in Kashmir.

As protestors put up a blockade on the Srinagar-Budgam highway, the police try to disperse them. (Express photo by Shuaib Masoodi, file)

A day after the Jammu and Kashmir administration constituted a special investigation team (SIT) headed by a deputy inspector-general of police, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has ordered an inquiry into the use of force against Kashmiri Pandits who were protesting against the killing of Rahul Bhat.

“We have constituted an SIT. The SHO (station house officer) has been attached. The SIT will investigate from all angles,” Sinha said on Sunday. “It would also investigate the force that was used (against the Kashmiri Pandit employees)”.

On Friday, police used tear gas against the Kashmiri Pandit employees protesting at the Sheikhpora Pandit Colony against the killing of Rahul Bhat. Bhat, an employee of the revenue department, was shot dead by militants on Thursday inside the Tehsil office at Chadoora in Kashmir’s Budgam district. The protesting Kashmiri Pandit employees were demanding transfers to safer places.

Sinha promised to transfer Kashmiri Pandit employees in a week. “In a week’s time, their (Kashmiri Pandit employees) posting will be done at secure places. We will look into their (other) grievances as well. All these issues would definitely be resolved,” the lieutenant governor said. “I appeal, please keep peace.”

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Sinha said Bhat’s killing was a targeted one and aimed at disturbing peace in the Valley. “As far as the death of Bhat sahib is concerned, it was a targeted killing and an attempt was made to create an atmosphere of fear,” he said. “Some people are trying to disturb peace, but I will tell them that this attempt will fail.”

Stating that the two foreign militants behind the murders of Kashmiri Pandit employees had been killed, Sinha appealed to the people and political leaders to stay together. “Two foreign terrorists have been killed. The police are keeping an eye on some other people,” he said. “I appeal to the political parties as well as people (that) this is the time to stay together so that a peaceful atmosphere remains. I appeal to the political parties to issue a joint statement.”

The lieutenant governor also urged the political parties to take out a march against Bhat’s killing and boycott militants involved in it.

First published on: 15-05-2022 at 18:04 IST
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