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3 more killed in South Kashmir as militants step up attacks on outsiders

In two separate incidents in south Kashmir, a labourer from Chhattisgarh and two traders from Punjab were attacked by militants Wednesday.

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Shopian: Militants stepped up attacks on non-Kashmiris in the south of the Valley Wednesday, killing three men in two separate incidents.

Security forces and residents also clashed in the region after three Lashkar-e-Taiba members were gunned down by the troops.

South Kashmir has been a hotbed of militant activity for the last few years and the sudden spike in violence comes in the aftermath of the state administration restoring post-paid mobile phone services in the Valley Monday.

Separate incidents

On Wednesday, a labourer from Chhattisgarh was shot at point blank range in the Nihama area of Pulwama, and was killed instantly, police said. The labourer, identified as Sethi Kumar Sagar, worked at a brick kiln in the area.

Sagar and a friend were on their way to see a doctor around noon when two men with pistols stopped them, had a brief conversation, and shot Sagar in the head, police said.

Then, at around 7:30 pm, two men were shot at in Trenz area of Shopian. The men have been identified as Charanjit Singh and Sanju, both traders from Punjab,

Charanjit succumbed to his injuries on the spot, while Sanju was taken to Srinagar’s SMHS Hospital in a critical condition, where he died later.

On Monday, militants had shot dead a truck driver from Rajasthan in Shopian’s Shirmal village, hours after the state administration had restored mobile phone connectivity.

Meanwhile, the gun battle between security forces and three Lashkar militants took place in Bijbehara’s Pazalpora area. The militants, identified as local commander Nasir Chadoo and residents Zahid Lone and Aqib Hajam, were killed. But the gun battle resulted in violent clashes between the security forces and locals that continued till late afternoon.


Also read: The administrative changes that await J&K as it heads towards bifurcation


Apprehension among fruit-growers and traders

The three incidents in three days have spread panic among the people of south Kashmir because they are unsure whether the militants are targeting fruit growers and traders, as suspected after Monday’s incident, or non-Kashmiri workers, as Wednesday’s incidents would seem to suggest.

The village Shirmal, where Rajasthani truck driver Mohammad Shareef was killed Monday, wore an eerie silence Wednesday, with shops and businesses remaining shut for most of the day.

Shareef had parked his vehicle outside the residence of Mohammad Yousuf, who owns an apple business. Yousuf said he was sitting inside when the cleaner of the truck, Ikram Ahmed, also from Rajasthan, came running towards him and informed that two masked men had hijacked the truck in which boxes of apples were being loaded, and taken the driver with them.

Shareef was made to drive the truck towards the national highway, where it was parked diagonally to block traffic. He was then shot dead and the truck set on fire. As a result of the fire, local residents said, apple trees in a nearby orchard caught fire as well.

“I have stopped the process of sending the apples. We have not loaded a single box of apples since the incident,” said Yousuf.

In September, militant organisations had issued posters asking fruit growers to not indulge in apple trade as it would undermine the on-going shutdown.

Ashraf Mir, president of Shopian’s fruit mandi association elaborated on the difficulties the apple trade had been facing since 5 August, when the Centre scrapped Article 370 and enforced a massive clampdown.

“There is a 60 per cent hike in transportation charges. We used to spend around Rs 100 a box for transportation. These days, the cost is Rs 160. We honestly don’t know what to do after the incidents of the past three days,” he said.


Also read: We were in tears, says Kashmir youth as he talks to girlfriend on mobile after 70 days


Fear among outsiders

Meanwhile, in Nihama, 30 km from Shirmal, where Chhattisgarh labourer Sagar was killed Wednesday, there is fear among non-Kashmiri workers that these are targeted killings — a fear that resonates across the region.

Chandan Kohli, the senior superintendent of police in Pulwama, told ThePrint said the establishment was treating Sagar’s killing as a “terrorist attack”. “We are interviewing the friend who was accompanying the deceased. Investigations have begun in the case,” Kohli said.

However, for those outsiders who stayed behind amid the mass exodus of non-Kashmiris from the state, Kohli’s words aren’t reassurance enough.

Drivers in Pulwama, who skipped work Wednesday, expressed concerns about their safety.

“We have never been troubled. Kashmiri people are really generous and extremely professional when it comes to trade. But now I am beginning to fear. Kashmir might have changed permanently,” Ranbeer Singh, a driver from Amritsar, said.


Also read: Are we going to succumb to militants — govt full-page ad questions Kashmir people’s curfew


 

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Calling terrorists as militants shows the affiliation of the so called liberals in this country. It is because of this sort of wOrk that patriotic Muslims are hounded by sanghis. Why can’t the Media call space a spade and call criminal jihadis as terrorists. Since media does this double game enables sanghis to paint all Muslims as suspect s

    • yes u r right. media should call spade a spade.. Like all Sangi Terrorists should be shot at sight. No place for terrorist in a civilised society…

  2. “Fear among outsiders” Those outsiders are Indians and have every right to stay in any part of India, including Kashmir and earn their honest livelihood. islamist are up to their old dirty tricks again. Security forces need to stop mollycoddling the militants and start raiding the masjids and arresting the mullahs in the South Kashmir. They are the nerve center for terrorist attacks. What is the political establishment waiting for?…another violent exodus of non-Sunni Indians! Let the military do its damn job.

  3. India has to lift its inhumane curfew.Leave Kashmiris and let them live life of dignity and respect and honor.

  4. Rahulji has rightly called this terrorism. I don’t understand the media calling the jihadi terrorists as militants. Just to oppose Rahulji the media seems to glorify the terrorists and call them as militants. The Indian media in it’s obsession against Rahulji is promoting terrorism unfortunately

    • Wait for permission from jihadis Ashok? The terrorists should be exterminated with whatever means. Where is media outcry for sharief Khan. Where is the award wapadi. Where is the ferocious editorials about human rights…

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