Bank manager shot dead in second targeted attack in 72 hours in Kashmir Valley

Vijay Kumar, director of Elaqahi Dehati Bank, died on the way to hospital


A Rajasthani bank manager has been shot dead by a terrorist in Kulgam in Jammu and Kashmir in the second targeted attack on Hindus in the valley in three days.

A terrorist entered the Areh branch of the Elaqahi Dehati bank and shot Vijay Kumar, the bank manager. CCTV footage shows the killer entering the branch, firing a shot and running away. Vijay Kumar was rushed to hospital when he took his last breath.

A resident of Hanumangarh district in Rajasthan, Kumar had recently joined his posting in Kulgam.

Police said the area had been cordoned off and efforts were underway to track down the terrorists behind the attack.

The attack comes just two days after a Hindu teacher from Jammu, Rajni Bala, was killed by terrorists outside a school, also in Kulgam.

The killing of the bank manager in Kulgam came within 24 hours of two major incidents in nearby Shopian district. A civilian, Farooq Ahmad Sheikh, was injured in a targeted terrorist attack at his home last night.

In another incident, three soldiers were injured after an explosion in their vehicle early this morning. One of the soldiers was seriously injured.

According to the army, the three soldiers had taken a private vehicle for an anti-terrorist operation. The explosion, they said, took place as they headed towards the target area.

Police are now trying to confirm whether the blast was caused by an IED, a grenade or the malfunctioning car battery. Sources said the vehicle was heavily damaged and it was unlikely to have been caused by battery issues.

In Rajasthan, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot condemned the murder and expressed his condolences. He also targeted the NDA government for its failure to keep peace in Kashmir and said it must ensure the safety of the citizens.

The new attack also comes amid a widespread protest in the Union Territory by Kashmiri Pandits demanding they be moved to safer areas. Community members have been protesting since Rahul Bhat, a Pandit from Kashmiri, was shot dead inside the magistrate’s office in Budgam last month.

About 4,000 Kashmiri Pandits employed in the valley as part of a Prime Minister’s rehabilitation program have threatened mass migration as they no longer feel safe. To prevent them from leaving, the Union Territory administration erected barricades and closed the gates of the transit camps.

Targeted attacks against migrant workers and local minorities in Kashmir began last year. In October, seven civilians were killed in five days, including a Kashmiri pandit, a Sikh and two non-local Hindus.

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