My father was brave, I too have to be brave: Niyanta Pandita

Days after her father was killed by terrorists in Kashmir, Niyanta Pandita, daughter of Sarpanch Ajay Pandita Bharti, said she will follow the footsteps of her brave father who loved his country and was a true patriot.

Ajay Pandita Bharti, a Sarpanch in south Kashmir’s Anantnag, was shot from a close range by terrorists and killed near his residence on Monday.

Speaking to IANS Niyanta said the family currently in Jammu will soon be moving back to Kashmir.

“My father was brave and I too have to be brave, we will not allow anybody to snatch our rights,” she said.

She said the terrorists who shot her father had no courage. They didn’t have the guts to face him but shot him from behind.

“They could have shot him in the chest, but they fired from the back at his head, it is simply a case of cowardice,” she said.

She said her father had demanded security cover from the government after a Sarpanch was killed in November last year. She said he did this because he was concerned about the fact that he was not alone but had a family with him. She said even though the security was not given, it didn’t deter or scare him to speak for his people and to work for them.

She said she, however, nurses a grievance to some extent about the unheeded call of his father about security, if he would have been given the security, and his concerns had not been left unheard then may be this would not have happened. She said the incident should serve as a lesson for the government that people’s concerns must not be taken lightly otherwise the results could be very bad.

“We are a family of lions, we are not scared of anybody. But everybody is concerned about family’s safety. My father wasn’t scared for himself, but was concerned about his family, everybody is bothered about his family and strives for their safety and protection,” she said. “Whatever the government deems right regarding giving security to sarpanchs, it must do that, I don’t want a similar tragedy repeated in Kashmir,” she said.

She said her father was elected Sarpanch with the support of the people and he had contested Sarpanch elections on the insistence of the locals.

“They trusted him, I don’t say that every person is bad there, but there are some bad people also, otherwise how would they know when he left the block, reached the home, and went outside when he was fired,” she said. “People of India are killed in India, it is a shame, I want justice must be done as soon as possible,” she said.

She said her father was not dependent on any party. He loved his country and worked for the upliftment of the people.

“He was the son of the nation. He doesn’t belong to any party,” she said.

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