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Auhona Roy Chowdhury, Pune

A Kashmiri Pandit working as a security guard at a bank was shot dead by suspected militants in south Kashmir’s Pulwama on Sunday. The man, Sanjay Sharma, was rushed to a hospital where he succumbed to the injuries. This is the first fatal attack on a Kashmiri Pandit in the Valley since October.

“Terrorists fired upon one civilian from a minority namely Sanjay Sharma S/O Kashinath Sharma R/O Achan Pulwama while on way to the local market. He was shifted to hospital however, he succumbed to injuries. There was Armed guard in his village. Area cordoned off. Details shall follow,” the Jammu and Kashmir Police tweeted. 

The area has been cordoned off and a hunt has been launched to identify the assailants, the officials reported.

Reacting to the incident, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah reported that he was “deeply saddened to hear of the demise of Sanjay Pandith”. He tweeted, “Sanjay was working as a bank security guard & was killed in a militant attack earlier today. I unequivocally condemn this attack & send my condolences to his loved ones”. 

According to the Union minister of state for home, Nityanand Rai, there were about 14 persons from minority communities murdered in Jammu and Kashmir last year, including three Kashmiri Pandits. The Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti had expressed security concerns in some media reports, according to Rai. The government has taken a number of steps to safeguard the lives of minorities, including group security in the form of static guards, day and night area control, round-the-clock “nakas” at key locations, among other things.