Jammu, May 13: Emotions ran high as Rahul Bhat, a Kashmiri Pandit who was shot dead by terrorists in the Chadoora area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district on May 12 was cremated in Jammu on Friday. Brooding scenes were witnessed when last rites of the slain KP employee were performed at Bantalab cremation ground here.
Soon after the cremation, the mourners, consisting of a large number of Kashmiri Pandits held a protest on the Janipur road against the killing and demanded adequate security for the KP employees and their families in Kashmir. However, the protesters dispersed peacefully.
The mortal remains of Rahul Bhat reached his home in Durga Nagar area of Jammu district on Friday morning and the family members were inconsolable. Bhat is survived by his wife and minor daughter besides aged parents.
Both his wife and daughter, who were with the deceased at their accommodation in Sheikhpura Migrant Colony in Budgam also accompanied the body to their Jammu residence. The brother of the deceased, Sunny, lit the pyre at the Buntalab cremation ground, when the people chanted 'long live Rahul Bhat'.
Hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits, members of civil society, BJP leaders, and other politicians reached the house of the deceased Kashmiri Pandit employee and they also attended his last rites.
BJP LEADERS FACE ANGRY, ANTI-BJP SLOGANEERING
As the relatives of slain Rahul Bhat and mourners, including a large number of Kashmiri Pandit youth were angry over the killing, they shouted slogans against the BJP leaders when J&K president of BJP Ravinder Raina and former deputy chief minister Kavinder Gupta reached the cremation ground.
The family members of the deceased also accused the BJP-led government of making the young Kashmiri Pandits ‘cannon fodder’ by forcing them to serve in Kashmir in the name of rehabilitation.
“We have lost our son,” an angry relative of the deceased said when the sloganeering started against BJP leaders. For how long will KPs continue to be sacrificed?, another KP questioned BJP’s J&K president Ravinder Raina.
One KP youth asked Ravinder Raina “Can you stand in Kashmir like you are standing among the KPs here in Jammu? “KPs will not become sacrificial goats,” he shouted again. “If this boy was in Naryana in Katra to attend his ailing uncle then why was he called there (at the place of his posting,” a relative of slain Rahul said. “Someone called him to attend the office,” he repeated, to which Raina said “It’s a conspiracy”.
The angry relatives of Rahul Bhat said that all the Kashmiri Pandits serving in Kashmir should be made to return to Jammu for their security.
“Our children will not go to their jobs. Instead, all the secretariat quarters should be given to KP employees till the situation improves. They should not be forced to attend jobs,” one of the protesters said.
Amid tense situation, the BJP’s J&K president listen to them carefully and said ““Pakistan sponsored terrorists would have to pay the price for their act of killed innocent Rahul Bhat. The accused will be punished.”
However, the former deputy chief minister, Kavinder Gupta was surrounded by the KP youth.
An angry youth while being quite agitated said: “What have you done for KPs in these last eight years? What we have got after revocation of special status,”. Following this the ex-Dy CM reacted back to the KP youth: “By abusing BJP, Mehbooba Mufti or Dr Farooq Abdullah would not come to you, only we will come?” He said “We have the pain (for you).” It was the time, when one of the KP youth demanded that Pakistan should be attacked and take back the Pakistan administered Kashmir to end the issues once for all. “If this situation continues, we will take up arms,” he shouted while citing the example of Ukraine where civilians have been fighting alongside their Army to fight Russian aggression.
“Killing can be ended in Kashmir by attacking Pakistan,” the emotionally charged youth suggested when Kavinder Gupta was surrounded and asked questions by the KP youth.
ADGP JAMMU, DIV COM JAMMU AMONG OTHERS ATTEND FUNERAL
Earlier, the cremation was also attended by the ADGP Jammu Zone Mukesh Singh, Div Com Jammu, Deputy Commissioner Jammu, SSP Jammu and other officials. BJP leaders and members of civil society also visited the cremation ground.
While interacting with Bhat’s father, the ADGP said: “The whole police pariwar stands with the bereaved family and expresses heartfelt sympathies, grief and sorrow.” He assured that every support would be provided to the family from the police.
TELL US WHERE ARE WE SAFE, FATHER OF RAHUL BHAT
Speaking to the media, father of the deceased KP employee, namely Bitta Ji Bhat said that “He (Rahul Bhat) was in Jammu for two/three days as his uncle was ailing and undergoing treatment in Narayana.”
“He returned back to his work. When I was in Naryana, I got a message that he has been hit inside his office in Chadoora,” the sobbing father told the media persons and expressed concern how no government officer called him and no response was given by the district administration which he made after hearing the horrific news about his son.
“Tell us where are we safe? It seems, one by one every KP employee may face the same situation. It appears a deliberate murder,” he apprehended while raising security concern for those serving in Kashmir.
He further demanded that “Enquiry should be conducted against whosoever was involved in the killing.” Rahul got a job under the PM package in Kashmir in 2011. “The government has completely failed,” he responded to a question.
LEFT ALONE, WAILING WIFE OF RAHUL BHAT
Meanwhile, the wife of the deceased, Meenakshi told the media she received a call from someone and that call made her worried. “I felt something bad and picked up the call when I was told that he (Rahul) has been shot in the shoulder.”
“I thought if his arm goes, I will handle things. Even if his leg goes, that too can be managed. But he was taken away from me,” the wife of Rahul Bhat said while weeping inconsolably. She said that she has been left alone in life with no support. “I am alone for the rest of my life. He was the only one support but he has left,” Meenakshi said while sobbing for Rahul Bhat, her husband.