Jammu: Two government school teachers, including a woman, were gunned down by terrorists in the Eidgah area of Srinagar on Thursday, even as the valley was still recovering from the shocking killing of Makhan Lal Bindroo, owner of Srinagar’s most famous pharmacy.
The latest killings have taken the number of civilians shot dead in the valley over the past five days to seven. The killings also raise the spectre of minorities being increasingly targeted by terrorist groups in the state.
“At about 11.15 am, terrorists shot dead two school teachers at Sangam Eidgah in Srinagar district,” a police official said.
He said one of the victims is a woman. The deceased have been identified as Supinder Kour, a resident of Alochi Bagh area of the city here, and Deepak Chand, a resident of Jammu. They were working as teachers at Government Boys School, Sangam. The targeting of teachers drew wide-spread condemnation.
Police registers case
Jammu and Kashmir police on Thursday registered a case after two teachers were killed by terrorists at a government school in Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir.
In an official statement, the police said that at about 11.30 am, police received information about the incident following which Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh along with Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Vijay Kumar, IG CRPF Charu Sinha and other senior officers of police/Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) reached the terror crime spot. An investigation is in progress, the police said. The area has been cordoned and search in the area is underway.
Killings just two days after Bindroo was shot dead
On Tuesday three civilians, including Bindroo, were shot dead by terrorists within two hours in separate incidents in Srinagar and Bandipora districts of Jammu and Kashmir.
Bindroo was the owner of the famous Bindroo Medicate. He was shot dead by the assailants from point blank range. However, that was not the only incident of terror in the valley.
Within an hour, terrorists struck in Hawal area of the city, killing a non-local street vendor. The vendor, who used to sell bhelpuri, was shot at point blank range and died on the spot. The victim was identified as Virender.
In another incident, terrorists shot dead Mohammad Shafi Lone at Naidkhai in Bandipora district in north Kashmir.
On Saturday, terrorists shot dead Majid Ahmad Gojri, a resident of Chattabal Srinagar, at Karan Nagar.
Later that night, another civilian Mohammad Shafi Dar, resident of Batamaloo, was shot at and injured at SD Colony Batamaloo. He succumbed to injuries a few hours later.
Minorities targeted to create fear
The targeted killing of civilians, particularly minorities, in Kashmir is aimed at creating an atmosphere of fear and damaging the age-old communal harmony, Jammu and Kashmir Police chief Dilbag Singh said after the two teachers were shot dead.
The people who are targeting humanity, brotherhood and local ethos and values will be unmasked soon, Singh told reporters at the site of the murders.
“The incidents of targeting civilians in Kashmir since a few days are barbaric. Innocent people who are working for the society and have nothing to do with anyone are being targeted. This is an attempt to create an atmosphere of fear and to give it a communal colour so as to damage the communal harmony in Kashmir,” the Director General of Police (DGP) said.
Government promises befitting reply
Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha condemned the killing of two teachers belonging to minority communities on Thursday and said a befitting reply will be given to the perpetrators of the terror attack.
He said the terrorists and their patrons will not succeed in disturbing peace in the Union Territory.
“I strongly condemn the barbaric killing of two of our teachers, Supinder Kour and Deepak Chand by terrorists. A befitting reply will be given to the perpetrators of the heinous terror attacks on innocent people,” Sinha wrote on Twitter.
“The terrorists & their patrons will not succeed in disturbing peace, progress & prosperity of J&K UT. My deepest condolences to the bereaved family, friends and colleagues,” he added.
Rahul Gandhi targets Centre
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi targeted the Centre saying violence was on the rise in the valley. Neither demonetisation nor the abolition of Article 370 has helped curbed terrorism, he said.
Kashmiri Pandits demand security
After Bindroo’s killing, several organisations representing the Kashmiri Pandit community and some Jammu-based outfits staged anti-Pakistan protests on Wednesday and demanded enhanced security for the community.
Bindroo’s brave daughter
Even in grief, Bindroo’s daughter, Dr Samriddhi Bindroo, was a picture of fortitude and strength. Samriddhi Bindroo swore not to shed a tear for the family’s “fighter” — Kashmiri Pandit businessman Makhan Lal Bindroo — and dared the gunmen to “come in front of me”.
“You want to fight with guns and stones? That is cowardice. All politicians are using you, come and fight with education,” said Samriddhi.
Samriddhi also spoke about how her father didn’t cower in front of terrorists during the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in the early 90s and stayed put to build his business — the landmark Bindroo Medicate pharmacy in Iqbal Park — and raise a young family.
“I am an associate professor. I have started from zero … my father started from a bicycle, my brother is a famous diabetologist, my mother sits in the shop — that is what Makhan Lal Bindroo made us. A Kashmiri Pandit, he will never die.”
Recalling how she was the only Hindu girl in her class after the Kashmiri Pandit purge, Samriddhi said, “Despite being a Hindu, I have read the Quran. The Quran says you may kill the body, the spirit lives on. Bindroo will remain alive in spirit.”
Social media cheered the braveheart, calling her the “daughter of Kashmir”.
Political parties condemn incident
“Shocking news coming in again from Srinagar. Another set of targeted killings, this time of two teachers in a govt school in Idgah area of the city. Words of condemnation are not enough for this inhuman act of terror but I pray for the souls of the deceased to rest in peace,” National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah said on Twitter.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti said the Centre’s claims of building a ‘Naya Kashmir’ has actually turned it into a hellhole.
“Disturbing to see the deteriorating situation in Kashmir where a minuscule minority is the latest target. GOI’s claims of building a Naya Kashmir has actually turned it into a hellhole. It’s sole interest is to use Kashmir as a milch cow for its electoral interests,” she wrote on Twitter.
Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone said it is important to understand that terrorists have no religion. “Reports of cowardice emerging. Two teachers shot dead. It is important to understand that terrorists have no religion. Muslims have been killed too. I personally had a killing in my family. This is a lunatic fringe which is a curse for Kashmir. May Allah rid us of this curse,” Lone said in a tweet.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) J&K spokesman Altaf Thakur also condemned the killings, saying the killing of unarmed teachers, who have nothing to do with politics, is nothing “but purely an inhuman act and frustration”.
“Those who killed the two teachers have no religion. These teachers were teaching students, what was their fault,” Thakur said. He said the cowardly act deserves the highest form of condemnation.
“Killing of unarmed civilians can never be justified as no religion allows to kill innocents,” the BJP spokesman said, as he expressed sympathies with the families of the slain teachers.
Road to be named after Bindroo
Authorities have said that a road in Srinagar is being named after Bindroo. Srinagar Muncipal Corporation (SMC) Mayor Junaid Mattoo in a tweet said the road named after Bindroo is a tribute to his contributions to the society.
“The road from Haft Chinar Chowk to Jehangir Chowk (where Bindroo Medicate is located) will be named Shaheed Makhan Lal Bindroo Road as a tribute to his contributions to society. A resolution to this effect will be formally proposed in the SMC General Council,” Junaid Mattoo, Mayor Srinagar Muncipal Corporation tweeted.