2 more non-local civilians killed by terrorists in J-K
- A police spokesperson said that searches have begun to find the terrorist behind the attacks.
Terrorists on Saturday shot dead a vendor and a carpenter – both non-locals – in two separate attacks in Srinagar and Pulwama districts of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said, taking the number of casualties in the string of targeted civilian killings in the region to nine in recent days.
The attacks were carried out within an hour, the officials said.
Arvind Kumar Sah, 29, a resident of Banka area in Bihar, was shot at close range by the terrorists in Srinagar’s Eidgah area at around 6.15pm, an official said, asking not to be named. He was rushed to Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital, where doctors declared him dead.
An hour later, at around 7.15pm, Sageer Ahmad, a carpenter from Uttar Pradesh, was attacked at Litter in the Pulwama district, anther official confirmed.
A police spokesperson said that searches have begun to find the terrorist behind the attacks.
“Terrorists fired upon two non-local labourers in Srinagar and Pulwama. Arvind Kumar Sah of Banka Bihar succumbed to injuries in Srinagar and Sagir Ahmad of UP in Pulwama. Areas have been cordoned & searches started,” the police spokesperson said.
Saturday’s killings are the latest in a series of attacks on minorities in the Union Territory, which have prompted the government to mount counter-insurgency operations in the region.
Nine soldiers have been killed in the operations that began Monday – the highest casualties the army has suffered in a week in the region in recent years.
At least 13 terrorists, including a top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander, have also been neutralised in the operations.
Earlier in the day, Kashmir inspector general of police Vijay Kumar said that 13 terrorists have been killed in nine encounters since Monday. “We have neutralised 3 out of 5 terrorists of Srinagar City within less than 24 hours,” he said.
Political leaders condemned the attacks on Saturday.
Calling the murders “reprehensible”, National Conference vice-president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “Strongly condemn the killing of street vendor Arvind Kumar in a terror attack in Srinagar today. This is yet another case of a civilian being targeted like this. All Arvind Kumar did was come to Srinagar in search of earning opportunities & it’s reprehensible that he was murdered.”
Peoples Conference chairman Sajjad Lone said the killings were acts of “pure terror”.
“This is pure terror. Yet again a non-local vendor shot and killed in Idgah. What a shame. How cowardly can it get,” Lone tweeted.
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s general secretary for J&K and Kashmir affairs incharge Sunil Sharma also condemned the killings, and called for strict punishment for the terrorists.
“The killing of poor vendor and carpenter who earn their livelihood through hardwork is inhuman and barbaric act,” Sharma said in statement.
Party spokesperson Altaf Thakur said the killings were highly condemnable.
Srinagar Mayor Junaid Azim Mattu also condemned the attacks. “Strongly condemn the killing of Arvind Kumar - a street-vendor at Eidgah by terrorists. Continued attempts by terrorists to intimidate the people and drive a communal wedge in our society. My heart goes out to his family. Another inconsolable tragedy. A sheer act of terror,” he tweeted.
October has witnessed a spate in attacks, with nine civilians, including two school teachers and three non-locals being shot dead by the terrorists.
Supinder Kaur, principal of the Government Boys Higher Secondary School in Eidgah, and Deepak Chand, a teacher at the same school, were shot dead inside the school premises on October 7.
Days before the attack on the school, three civilians were killed in separate attacks in the Valley on October 5.
Makhan Lal Bindroo, a Kashmiri Pandit and a well-known pharmacist in Srinagar; Virender Paswan, a street vendor from Bihar’s Bhagalpur, and Mohammad Shafi Lone, the head of a taxi stand in Bandipora district, were shot dead within minutes on October 5.
Two other people were killed on October 2.
The Resistance Front (TRF), a front for terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba had claimed responsibility for most of the attack.
Security forces have killed at least 120 terrorists in Kashmir this year, including over a dozen top commanders.