Fear loomed large in Kashmir's apple town of Sopore as unidentified gunmen killed a civilian on Friday night.According to police, a shopkeeper, Tariq Ahmad Bhat, was killed when gunmen fired at him from close range in the Bomai area of Sopore. This is the fourth civilian killing in Sopore since militants starting targeting telecom companies in May.
Bhat was the area shopkeepers' association president. The police said he was a sympathiser of the Hurriyat faction led by hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani. “We are investigating and trying to establish the motive of the killing, but so far it seems to be a case of terrorising the people in the area,” said IGP Kashmir Javeed Gillani.
On Tuesday, a Hurriyat activist was killed by unidentified gunmen. Police said the killing was in retaliation of Geelani's statement condemning attacks on telecom companies.
The police claimed to have identified local youngsters associated with indigenous terror group Hizbul Mujahideen who targeted telecom workers and infrastructure in a string of attacks that began last month, disrupting communication lines in the trouble-torn state.
In the first attack, a BSNL employee was killed and two others were injured when unidentified gunmen struck at a company showroom in Sopore in May, while another person hosting a mobile tower at his house was killed a day later.
The militant group is following terror tactics and asking people to follow their diktats or face severe punishment.