Syed Mohd Lateef, a resident of village Mitirigam. says he came to know about the terrorist attack on Sanjay Sharma, a Hindu living in the neighbouring village of Achen in south Kashmir’s Pulwama, on Sunday almost as soon as it happened.
“I was shaken to my core,” said the 48-year social worker who hails from a family of clerics and Islamic scholars.
Lateef told Awaz-the Voice that he fails to understand how humans could even think of killing a fellow human; “It’s against the basics of Islam,” he says.
Daughter of Sanjay Sharma
To explain, he narrated a story from Prophet Muhammad’s life.
One day someone asked the Prophet if it was okay to kill a rat. He replied that although a rat is a harmful creature "if you let it go I would feel you have released me from a cage."
As per another story, once Prophet was passing through a place called Tawaif near Makkah city when locals pelted stones at him. He was bleeding and badly injured when angel Gabriel Ameel appeared in the skies.
He asked Prophet Muhammad if he should destroy the settlement from where stones were pelted at him. He replied, “I am here to shower my blessings; I will not allow you to destroy them (residents).”
He says “This is the importance of life for a Muslim; nobody has the right to take away another life. This is against Islam,” says Lateef who is dismayed at the terrorist targeting Sanjay Sharma, father of three children, Sunday morning.
As soon as he came to know about his death, Lateef rushed to Sanjay Sharma’s house where villagers, mostly Muslims, had gathered in large numbers. “Hapless people could only cry and wail over the tragedy that had befallen this gentle and soft-spoken family.”
Kashmiri Pandit Sanjay Sharma shot dead by militants at his native village Achan in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.Villagers expressed grief & also helped in conducting last rites of the deceased.DIG South Kashmir @bhatray visted the spot. pic.twitter.com/j1zSyYOfgv— Raouf Dar رؤف رشید ڈار (@Raoufdar) February 26, 2023
He says his village is famous for being the birthplace of legendary Kashmiri poet Mehjoor and this killing – the first of its kind – has left a big blot on the fair name of their village and religion.
Lateef, who also faced bullets of terrorists earlier, says “it’s the handiwork of terrorists, for they cannot see Kashmir becoming peaceful and normal.”
He says terrorists also don't want to see Muslims and Hindus living in peace and brotherhood.
Lateef was among the scores of local Muslims who held a candlelight protest in Pulwama, district headquarters Sunday evening against the killing.
Candlelight march held in Pulwama Kashmir to condemn the killing of 45-year-old Kashmiri Pandit Sanjay Kumar Sharma. A bank security guard by profession, Kumar was killed by unknown gunmen, suspected to be militants, at his native village Achan Pulwama pic.twitter.com/3oYrQWl4oJ— Pirzada Shakir (@pzshakir6) February 27, 2023
Ghulam Mohammad Mir Shahoora from the village next to Achen had studied with Sanjay Sharma in the local school. He said Sanjay was the epitome of grace and gentleness.
His killing is a blot on “Insaniyat and Kashmiriyat."
Mir described Sanjay as the gentlest of all who worked hard to provide for his family. He said Sanjay worked despite having faced health issues and undergoing surgery a few years ago.
Sanjay lived in the ancestral house with the family of his two elder brothers. The family had a small land holding.
A commerce graduate, Sanjay worked as a teacher for ten years. However, when he was offered the position of an ATM guard and a higher salary he switched the job.
The 52-year Mir who is also a social worker says many Hindu families had left the village but Sanjay was one of the few who stayed put and never faced a problem.
Kashmiri Muslims staging a protest against the killing og Sanjay Sharma in Srinagar
Local villagers held an impromptu protest against his killing in Achen.
Civil society groups also held protests against the killing of Sanjay Sharma in Srinagar and other places.