A string of targeted killings of civilians this week in the Indian-administered Kashmir has caused a sense of fear among the minority communities, with many Hindus starting to leave the region.
A Sikh principal and her Hindu colleague were shot dead inside their school on the outskirts of Srinagar, the region’s main city, on Thursday in the third attack within a week. The attackers first checked the identity cards of the teachers and then isolated 46-year-old Sikh woman Supinder Kaur and a local Hindu teacher Deepak Chand before shooting them dead on the school premises, officials said.
A total of seven people have been killed in the recent spate of killings, blamed on the rebels fighting Indian rule.
Authorities have asked members of the Hindu community not to venture out of their homes. But that has failed to assuage their fears. Some of them have quietly left the region, bringing back memories of the 1990s, which saw the flight of the Hindu community.
Tens of thousands of people from the minority Hindu community were forced to leave mainly for the southern city of Jammu after some members of the community were targeted following the eruption of an armed rebellion in 1989.
But about 800 families had decided to stay back despite the precarious security situation. Among them was the family of *Rudresh Chaku, 23, a computer science graduate, from Srinagar.
“I was not born in the early 1990s but today my parents are witnessing the flashback of those times and I am able to see closely how tough the times would have been,” Chaku.
The young computer graduate sees his future in Kashmir but says his parents are worried.
“They regret not migrating in the 1990s. If these things continue, we cannot stay here any more,” Chaku said, adding that for the past five days, the family has not stepped out of their home.
“Though my Muslim friends are calling all the time for any help and support me to make me feel safe, but the fear is still there,” he said.
Police have detained hundreds of people as they promised to bring the perpetrators to justice.
A police official on the conditions of anonymity said more than 300 people, mostly young men, have been detained in raids across the region. Most of these people have been involved in “stone pelting and violent protests” in the past, the official said.