Srinagar: Kashmiri Pandit businessman Sandeep Mawa, whose salesman was killed here in a militant attack believed to be aimed at him, on Wednesday said he will not leave Kashmir and remain here despite opposition from his family.
Mawa also claimed that he escaped the attack as he left his shop early due to a prior intelligence input, but his salesman Mohammad Ibrahim Khan was shot dead near his shop in Bohri Kadal area of the city on Monday.
He said he was not deterred and will continue to stay in Kashmir Valley.
“No, I am not leaving Kashmir. There is no question (of leaving the valley),” Mawa said when asked if he was thinking of leaving Kashmir in the wake of Monday’s attack and a series of such attacks against the members of the minority communities recently.
Mawa, who is related to Kashmiri Pandit chemist M L Bindroo who was shot dead near his shop last month, said he believes Monday’s attack was a case of mistaken identity and a part of the series of attacks on the minority community members. “What I think is it is (part of) attack on minority (community members),” he said, adding the attackers mistook his salesman for him and shot Khan who worked for the family for about 14 years from a close range when he went inside Mawa’s car.
Mawa whose family returned to Kashmir in 2018 said he will not leave again and is determined to stay in Kashmir despite opposition to the idea from his family.
I am staying here and I am not going to run away, he added.
He said the people of Kashmir — Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Sikhs — have to collectively fight it.
We cannot run away and leave this field open for them, Mawa said.
The Kashmiri Pandit businessman said he was alerted by the police in the afternoon on Monday about a possible attack on his life, hours before the militants shot dead his Kashmiri Muslim salesman.
I was told by the police that there was an input (about a possible attack on his life). The police advised me to leave the shop and so, I left around 3:15 pm, Mawa said.
He had filed a petition before the high court seeking constitution of a special investigation team into the Shopian fake encounter in which three labourers from Rajouri were killed last year. Mawa also demanded the constitution of the State Human Rights Commission in the JK. The businessman said he left his car near the shop and left in some other vehicle in a hurry.Around 8 pm, when my brother (Khan) was trying to get into my car, he was shot at, he added.