Bank manager promised wife Kashmir was safe

Manoj Kumari believed in her husband. She was sure that he would become a branch manager at his bank, took his word when he promised their honeymoon in Kashmir would be safe and that would one day they would return to Rajasthan.

He managed to keep one promise. The other two remain unfulfilled as her husband, Vijay Beniwal (29), bank manager at Ellaquai Dehati Bank (EDB) branch in south Kashmir’s Kulgam was killed by suspected militants on Thursday.

They had tied the knot in February and Vijay spent the initial days of his marriage professing his love for her over the phone. Then he convinced her to shift with him in Kashmir.

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“He told me Kashmir was safe. For our honeymoon, he took me to Pahalgam and Vaishno Devi. After our honeymoon, I started getting scared as the targeted killings began in Kashmir. He told me that bank employees were not targeted in Kashmir. He promised to become the branch manager and take a posting in Rajasthan,” Kumari (26) said.

Vijay had been posted in Kashmir after qualifying the Regional Rural Banks exam in 2019. He was initially posted as a clerk, but later was posted as a bank PO after passing a qualifying exam. His family now faces a tough time ahead as they had taken a Rs 19 lakh loan to renovate their family home in Hanumangarh’s Nora Tehsil. Vijay’s father is the only remaining breadwinner, while Kumari has decided to become a teacher.

At the family home, Om Prakash (54), peered into the local newspapers with his son’s wedding photos splashed across the front pages announcing his death. “No politician has visited my family today…My son… never said anything bad about Kashmir. We were waiting for him to return home …my son returned home in a hearse van,” Prakash said.

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