Teacher’s killing: Protests rock Jammu for 2nd day amid demand to sack officers
Samba: Protests against the killing of a Hindu school teacher in Kulgam continued to rock several parts of Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts on the second consecutive day on Wednesday.
Rajni Bala (36) was shot dead by militants following which Kashmiri Pandits employed under the PM package, had threatened to undertake mass migration from the Valley if they were not relocated to safe places within the next 24 hours.
The protesters on Wednesday blocked the Jammu-Pathankot highway in Samba and demanded dismissal of officers responsible for failing to transfer Bala to a safe place that resulted in her killing.
Meanwhile, Samba, the district the victim belonged to, observed a complete shutdown to protest against the killing.
Posted at a government school in Gopalpora, Bala was shot in the head by militants on Tuesday. She succumbed to injuries at a hospital, according to police.
Calling the Valley’s Hindu population a “soft target”, Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief Ravinder Raina, who visited the bereaved family in Samba and faced protest, said there is an urgent need to formulate a security plan for the safety of the community as “Pakistani terrorists” were targeting them constantly.
Hundreds of protesters took out a rally toward the Jammu-Pathankot highway and raised anti-government and anti-Pakistan slogans.
They staged a sit-in on the highway, blocking the vehicular traffic and demanded dismissal of officers, especially that of Kulgam CEO, for turning down repeated requests of the couple and delaying Bala’s transfer to Kulgam for months.
The protestors also raised slogans against Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha over the complete failure on the security front to protect the Hindus serving in government offices in the Valley and burnt an effigy of the administration.
The administration led by Deputy Commissioner Anuradha reached out to protesters to lift the blockade on the highway, but the agitated protesters continued their demonstration.
Shattered by the death of his wife by militants minutes after he dropped her at the school, Raj Kumar had on Tuesday blamed the administration for turning a “deaf ear” to their repeated requests to transfer her in view of the targeted killings of Hindus in the Union territory.
The couple was transferred on Monday, just a day before the attack. Tuesday was supposed to be Bala’s last day at her old school.
Kumar said Hindus are soft targets in Kashmir and the administration should relocate them in view of the fear psychosis triggered in the wake of the selective killings by militants.
Meanwhile, the protesters told Raina that their government led by LG Sinha has totally failed to protect Hindus in Kashmir.
The protesters also tried to heckle him, but several BJP activists and cops intervened.
“Hindus are being killed in Muslim-majority Kashmir under the BJP rule. Twenty-two Hindus, including Kashmiri Pandits, Dogra Hindus and outsiders, have been killed in the past and several injured by (bullet) shots,” former Samba MLA Yashpal Kundal said.
In Jammu city, BJP student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), Dogra Front, Kashmiri Pandits Front and Bajrang Dal, also staged protests against the killing.
Emotions run high at cremation of schoolteacher
Rajni Bala, a government school teacher who was killed by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kulgam district, was cremated here on Wednesday, amid an outpouring of grief and anger.
Slogans of “Rajni Bala Amar Rahe, Amar Rahe” rent the air as her husband, Raj Kumar, lit the pyre and a sea of mourners bid a tearful farewell to her.
At her home in Nanke Chak village, Bala’s parents and in-laws were inconsolable.
Bala, who was posted at a Government High School in Kulgam’s Gopalpora, was shot dead by militants on Tuesday.
Kumar, also a government school teacher, said in view of the targeted killings of Hindus in the Valley, he and his wife had repeatedly requested the administration to transfer her to a safer area.
His and his wife’s transfer orders came on Monday night. Tuesday was supposed to be Bala’s last day at the school in Gopalpora, he said.
“I had given an application to the chief education officer of Kulgam. We told him that the school is not safe for my wife but he did not do anything,” Kumar alleged.
As nothing happened despite having submitted multiple applications to the CEO, he said, he and his wife met the Director of School Education in Srinagar on Monday.
“We requested him to post us in the same school and gave him its name. Both of us were transferred to that school on Monday night,” Kumar said.
“Had the administration transferred her to a safer place earlier, she might have been alive today. Just a day after her transfer order came, she was killed by terrorists,” he told reporters.
He said his wife was shot dead minutes after he dropped her off at her school.
“I dropped her off at her school and went back to my school. Later, I was informed that my wife was shot at and she died on the spot,” he said.
Kumar said Hindus are soft targets in Kashmir and the administration should relocate all of them to safer places.
Those who joined Bala’s final journey also demanded protection for Hindu employees serving in the Kashmir Valley.
Villagers demanded that a school in Nanke Chak be named after Bala.
“We demand that the school in the village be named after Rajni Bala and the transfer policy be reviewed to transfer Hindus out of Kashmir. Kashmir is not a safe place for Hindu employees,” said a villager Narinder Kumar.
Besides her husband, Bala is survived by her 13-year-old daughter.