Kashmir killings: Slain Sikh principal was a quiet do-gooder

Kour had been spending a part of her earnings for the welfare of a Muslim orphan girl in the neighbourhood.

Kashmir killings: Slain Sikh principal was a quiet do-gooder

A banner put up outside Supinder Kour’s house in Srinagar.

Rohit Bhan

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, October 14

At RP Singh’s house in the Alochibaug area of Srinagar, the flow of VVIPs has reduced to a trickle. A week after his wife Supinder Kour was shot dead by militants in a government school, the distraught family is left mourning and the members of minority community fearing for their security.

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Muslim orphan’s Sikh Godmother

  • School principal Supinder Kour used to spend a part of her earnings for the welfare of a Muslim orphan girl
  • She also financially helped a school helper who had been undergoing dialysis at a city hospital

At their double-storeyed house on the Jhelum banks, a banner put up by friends unravels a rather fitting tribute to the life of the 46-year-old school principal. “A Muslim orphan girl has lost her Sikh Godmother,” reads the banner. Kour had been spending a part of her earnings for the welfare of a Muslim orphan girl in the neighbourhood. She also financially helped a school helper who had been undergoing dialysis at a city hospital.

Majority needs to speak up

When such selective killings happen, it's bound to shake our confidence and the majority community needs to speak up vociferously against the militants. —A Sikh Resident

Of what use is Official rhetoric?

Government officials and politicians keep telling us that we should stay alert. What does it mean? If a schoolteacher is shot dead in broad daylight what message does it send across? —RP Singh, Supinder Kaur’s husband

Despite Supinder’s active social work, her husband doesn’t want it to be publicised. “It was not a big deal for us or for her. She never wanted to make it sound big,” he says. Their daughter Jasleen Kour (11) and son Jasjit Singh (4) have still not come to terms with the situation. Supinder’s killing has left the Sikh community shocked. The incident seems to have put a question mark on the safety of 1.5 lakh Sikhs in the Valley. The community has chosen to stay put here despite having faced militant attacks in the past as well.

In 2000, thirty-six Sikhs were massacred by militants in Chattisinghpora village of Anantnag. But the targeting of a schoolteacher has left the community anxious and grappling for answers.

“Government officials and politicians keep telling us that we should stay alert. What does it mean? If a schoolteacher is shot dead in broad daylight what message does it send across? How is an unarmed harmless civilian expected to defend himself from someone who is out to kill?” said RP Singh.

Sikhs living in various localities of Srinagar, including Alochibaug, Wazir Baug and Raj Baug, are now raising questions over the security of minorities. “We decided to stay put here as we thought it’s our home. But when such selective killings happen, it’s bound to shake our confidence and the majority community needs to speak up vociferously against the militants,” said a Sikh resident of Jawahar Nagar.

Tribune Shorts


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