Bank Manager From Rajasthan Shot Dead In Kulgam

Slain bank employee Vijay Kumar

Migrant Labourer Gunned Down in Budgam

Srinagar- Militants shot dead a bank employee from Rajasthan inside the bank premises in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Thursday, the eighth targeted killing in the Valley since May 1 and the third of a non-Muslim government employee.

In a separate incident, hours later, a migrant labourer reportedly hailing from Bihar was shot dead and another injured in Chadoora area of Central Kashmir’s Budgam district.

Vijay Kumar, a manager with the Ellaqui Dehati Bank at Areh Mohanpora branch in the south Kashmir district, received grievous gunshot injuries and died on his way to hospital, officials said. The latest killing led to a chorus of condemnation from political parties across the spectrum, including the National Conference and the BJP.

Kumar, a resident of Hanumangarh in Rajasthan, had joined the Kulgam branch only a week ago. He had earlier been working in the Kokernag branch of the bank, co-owned by the Central government, the Jammu and Kashmir administration and the State Bank of India.

The CCTV footage showed the killer entering the premises first probably to verify whether the victim had come to the office, and within seconds returns with a pistol and fires at Kumar.

While one bullet hit the wall, the second hit Kumar leaving him seriously injured, the officials said, adding he succumbed to injuries on way to a hospital.

Government forces cordoned off the area and launched a hunt for the attackers, the officials said.

Kumar, who joined EDB in March 2019, had married in February this year and was supposed to come back to Bhagwan in Hanumangarh of Rajasthan, his native village, for 10-15 days next month. But destiny willed otherwise, said his father Om Prakash Beniwal on Thursday after the news about his son reached him.

“He had called recently and promised to come home for 10-15 days in July. We wanted him to settle down in Rajasthan but destiny was something else,” said Beniwal, who is a government school teacher.

The family was in a deep shock as preparations for last rites were being made. Kumar’s mortal remains will reach his native place on Friday.

The Resistance Front, a shadow outfit of banned Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The SBI issued a statement saying the bank remains committed to ensure the safety and well-being of all its employees, including those posted in the Valley.

The EDB shall ensure that the bereaved family is provided with necessary support – financial and otherwise – on priority, it said.

Condemning the act, All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) general secretary C H Venkatachalam said it is a matter of serious concern to all in the banking sector.

“Every now and then we get such disturbing news from one state or the other. Lot of very qualified youngsters are joining the banks for their career and better prospects. It is a pity that such incidents do happen periodically with no solution about the security of bank staff,” he said.

Canara Bank Officers’ Association general secretary Ravi Kumar, while condemning the incident, demanded strict action against those behind this killing.

Two days ago, on May 31, Rajni Bala, a Hindu woman teacher from Jammu’s Samba district, was shot dead by militants at a government school in Gopalpora, Kulgam. On May 12, Rahul Bhat, a clerk, was shot dead inside the tehsildar’s office in Chadoora tehsil of Budgam district.

Of the eight targeted killings in Kashmir since May 1, three victims were off-duty policemen and five were civilians.

So very sorry to hear about the targeted killing of Vijay Kumar. Tweeting to condemn an attack & condole a death are becoming a mind-numbingly regular thing. It’s heartbreaking to see families destroyed like this, NC vice president Omar Abdullah said in a tweet.

Apni Party chief Altaf Bukhari added that it was painful to witness targeted killings of civilians in Kashmir.

These dastardly acts of violence have devastated families… It’s shocking. Will words of condemnation be ever enough? he wrote on Twitter.

Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone termed the killing a heinous act and said he was at a loss of words to express his condemnation for such a heinous act.

Yet again extremely sad news coming in. An innocent civilian working as a manager in a bank in Kulgam has been shot dead, he said on Twitter.

Joining in the condemnation, PDP general secretary Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura said such incidents unmask the fake claims of normalcy by the administration.

Yet another life lost, deeply saddening & condemnable. This place has been turned into a battleground by the high headedness of the admin, its fake claims of normalcy stand unmasked. Situation is far from normal & immediate steps need to be taken for redressal. My condolences, the PDP leader said in a tweet.

BJP’s J-K spokesperson Altaf Thakur said the killing was a serious issue and a matter of concern.

“What a shameful act yet again. This time a bank manager of Ellaqui Dehati Bank Vijay Kumar of Rajashtan falls to the bullets of terrorists at Kulgam. Now terrorists targeting public servants too. A serious issue and a matter of concern. High time for security agencies to work out a strategy to stop this vicious cycle of violence,” he said.

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