Emotions run high at cremation of schoolteacher shot dead by terrorists in J-K
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
Rajni Bala, a government school teacher who was killed by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir's Kulgam district, was cremated 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 school in Kulgam's Gopalpora, was shot dead by terrorists 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 Muslim-majority 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.
Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief Ravinder Raina, who also attended Bala's last rites, said her death would be avenged by ensuring the burial of her killers.
Besides her husband, Bala is survived by her 13-year-old daughter.
Bala's was the second killing of a Kashmiri Pandit in the Valley in May. On May 12, Rahul Bhat was shot dead inside the tehsildar's office in Chadoora tehsil of Budgam district.
It was also the seventh targeted killing in Kashmir in May. While three of the victims were off-duty policemen, four were civilians.