Hindu banker and a worker from India fatally shot in Kashmir

Jun 1, 2022, 2:46 PM | Updated: Jun 2, 2022, 6:21 pm
Employees of Jammu and Kashmir Teachers Association march in a protest against the killing of colle...

Employees of Jammu and Kashmir Teachers Association march in a protest against the killing of colleague Rajini Bala in Jammu, India, Thursday, June 2, 2022. After that killing, Hindu government employees staged protests in several areas, demanding the government relocate them from Kashmir to safer areas in the Hindu-dominated Jammu region. In another incident, assailants fatally shot a Hindu bank manager in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Thursday, said police, who blamed militants fighting against Indian rule for the attack. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)

(AP Photo/Channi Anand)

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Assailants fatally shot a Hindu bank manager and a worker in targeted shootings in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Thursday, according to police who blamed the attacks on militants fighting against Indian rule of the disputed region.

Militants shot and wounded two Hindu workers at a brick factory near Chadoora town on Thursday night, Jammu-Kashmir police said in a statement. They were taken to a hospital, where one of the workers from India’s Bihar state died.

Earlier Thursday, suspected militants shot and killed a bank manager, Vijay Kumar, in southern Kulgam district, a separate Jammu-Kashmir police statement said. Kumar, from India’s Rajasthan state, died at a hospital following the shooting.

CCTV footage circulating on social media shows a masked assailant walk into the bank and fire shots at Kumar with what appears to be a handgun.

Muslim-majority Kashmir has witnessed a spate of targeted killings in recent months. They come as Indian troops have continued their counterinsurgency operations across the region amid a clampdown on dissent and media freedom, which critics have likened to a militaristic policy.

On Tuesday, suspected militants, also in Kulgam, shot and killed a Hindu schoolteacher, Rajini Bala.

After that killing, Hindu government employees staged protests in several areas, demanding the government relocate them from Kashmir to safer areas in the Hindu-dominated Jammu region. They accused the government of making them “scapegoats” and “cannon fodder” to showcase normalcy in the region and chanted slogans like “The only solution is relocation.”

Hundreds of Hindus who had returned to the region after 2010 as part of a government resettlement plan that provided them with jobs and housing fled the Kashmir Valley after the killing of Bala, according to Kashmiri Hindu activists. Some 4,000 Kashmiri Hindus, who are locally known as Pandits, have been recruited for government jobs under the program.

Those employees have been on a strike since May 13 after a Hindu revenue clerk was killed inside an office complex in Chadoora town.

In the aftermath of the clerk’s killing, hundreds of Pandits — an estimated 200,000 of whom fled Kashmir after an anti-India rebellion erupted in 1989 — organized for the first time simultaneous street protests at several locations in the region demanding better security.

“We were tricked into thinking that the government is rehabilitating us under an employment package,” said Jyoti Bhat, a local Hindu teacher who joined the program seven years ago. “It’s turning out to be a death package.”

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and both claim it in its entirety. Most Muslim Kashmiris in the Indian-controlled portion support the rebel goal of uniting the territory, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

When Kashmir turned into a battleground in the 1990s, attacks and threats by militants led to the departure of most Kashmiri Hindus, who supported India’s rule, with many believing that the rebellion was also aimed at wiping them out.

Most of the region’s Muslims, long resentful of Indian rule, deny that Hindus were systematically targeted, and say India helped them move out or allowed their flight in order to cast Kashmir’s struggle as Islamic extremism.

Those tensions were renewed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014 amid a sharp rise in communalism in India, and the Indian government pursued a plan to house returning migrant Kashmiri Hindus in new townships.

Muslim leaders described such plans as a conspiracy to create communal division by separating the population along religious lines, particularly after India stripped the region’s semi-autonomy in 2019 and removed inherited protections on land and jobs amid a monthslong lockdown and communication blockade.

Last year, suspected rebels killed a minority Sikh and several Hindus, including immigrant workers from Indian states, in a wave of targeted shootings in the region.

The killings came after India enacted a slew of changes in 2019, such as issuing “domicile certificates” to Indians and non-residents, entitling them to residency rights and government jobs. Many Kashmiris view such moves as aimed at engineering a demographic change in India’s only Muslim-majority region.

Many Muslim village councilors, police officers and civilians also have been killed in targeted shootings during the period.

“It’s a disastrous situation. It’s not just the (Hindu) employees who are in panic. We all are living in constant fear since 2019,” said Sanjay Tickoo, a local Kashmiri Pandit activist, who like some 800 other Pandit families did not migrate from Kashmir in the 1990s but chose to stay behind to live with their Muslim neighbors. He said that New Delhi’s 2019 changes in Kashmir brought “demons of hate and division” back to the fore.

“Killings in Kashmir happen as communalism is fast rising in India,” he said. “If there is another large-scale migration (of minorities) from Kashmir to other parts of the country, it will create more difficulties for Muslim minorities in India. Minorities are vulnerable everywhere.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Police begin to search the seating area near the stage after two police officers were shot during t...
Associated Press

Bullets that hit police at July 4 show likely fired far away

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bullets that grazed two police officers during a Fourth of July fireworks show in Philadelphia, prompting an evacuation that sent scores of people running from the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, came from the same weapon but were probably fired from “quite a distance away,” authorities said. Chief Inspector Frank Vanore of the Philadelphia […]
13 hours ago
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaks before members of the state Legislature and others before signing wh...
Associated Press

Governor signs $1.2B water plan as Arizona faces cutbacks

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation Wednesday that will provide $1.2 billion over three years to boost long-term water supplies for the desert state and implement conservation efforts that will see more immediate effects. The legislation that was hammered out over months during the just-completed legislative session is viewed as the most […]
13 hours ago
FILE - Bill Allen, former chief executive of VECO Corp. leaves federal court on Oct. 28, 2009 in An...
Associated Press

Bill Allen, key figure in Alaska corruption scandal, dies

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Bill Allen, a central figure in a corruption scandal that rocked Alaska politics, has died. He was 85. Allen’s death was reported by Alaska media, citing a brief death announcement on the website for a Colorado funeral home, which said Allen died on June 29. A person who answered the phone […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Copenhagen: Passenger jet safely evacuated after engine fire

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A passenger jet was evacuated at the Copenhagen airport Wednesday after a fire broke out in one of the engines, Danish police said. Everyone left the plane safely and no one was injured as firefighters put out the fire, police said on Twitter. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the plane was […]
13 hours ago
Derenda Hancock, co-director of the Jackson Women's Health Organization clinic patient escorts, bet...
Associated Press

Scramble as last Mississippi abortion clinic shuts its doors

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s only abortion clinic has been buzzing with activity in the chaotic days since the U.S. Supreme Court upended abortion rights nationwide — a case that originated in this conservative Deep South state and with this bright-pink medical facility that is closing its doors Wednesday. Physicians at Jackson Women’s Health Organization […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Closing prices for crude oil, gold and other commodities

Benchmark U.S. crude oil for August delivery fell 97 cents to $98.53 a barrel Wednesday. Brent crude for September delivery fell $2.08 to $100.69 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline for August delivery fell 9 cents to $3.24 a gallon. August heating oil fell 19 cents to $3.41 a gallon. August natural gas fell 1 cent to […]
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Hindu banker and a worker from India fatally shot in Kashmir