A Hindu school teacher was shot dead by militants in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Tuesday morning, Kashmir Zone Police said.
Rajni Bala, 36, a resident of the Samba district in the Jammu division, sustained multiple gunshot injuries, NDTV reported. She succumbed to her wounds at the hospital. The firing occurred outside a high school in the Gopalpora area of Kulgam, where she was posted as a teacher.
Security forces have cordoned off the area.
The incident sparked protests in Srinagar, led by Kashmiri Pandits. The protesters demanded relocation of all migrant employees from the minority community to Jammu. The protests are still ongoing.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha called the attack on Bala the “most reprehensible act”, and offered his condolences, ANI reported. “Terrorists and their sympathizers will be given an unforgettable response for the dastardly attack,” he said.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah described the murder as a “despicable targeted killing” and offered condolences to Bala’s family.
Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti said that targeted killings are on the rise. “Despite the GOIs [Government of India’s] fake claims about Kashmir being normal, it’s obvious that targeted civilian killings are on the rise and a deep cause of concern,” she said.
Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone called the killing an act of cowardice. “A teacher – an innocent female hailing from Samba has been shot dead in Kulgam,” he said. “May her soul rest in peace.”
Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Altaf Thakur condemned the event, saying that attacking unarmed civilians is “no bravery but an act of frustration”, PTI reported.
This is the seventh incident of killing a civilian in the region.
On May 12, Rahul Bhat, a revenue department official at the tehsil office in Chadoora, Budgam district was shot dead by two suspected militants.
His killing had triggered a wave of protests at Kashmiri Pandit camps across the Valley. Protesters had blocked highways and shouted slogans against the administration as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party for failing to ensure security for Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley.
On May 19, another civilian was killed in a grenade attack on a wine shop in Baramulla district.
On May 25, television actor Ambreen Bhat was shot dead and her 10-year-old nephew, Farhan Zubair, received bullet injuries after militants fired at them on May 25 in Chadoora town of Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam district.
According to the police, the militants were linked to the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba.