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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

Police identify Hizb militants behind civilian killing in J&K

Unidentified gunmen targeted two fruit traders from Ferozepur in Punjab at Trenz, seven kilometres from Shopian town, on Wednesday night, killing Charanjit Singh on the spot and wounding Sanjay Kumar, who was admitted in Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital in a critical state.

india Updated: Oct 18, 2019 05:22 IST
Mir Ehsan
Mir Ehsan
Srinagar
The fruit trader from Punjab remained in critical condition in hospital on Thursday.
The fruit trader from Punjab remained in critical condition in hospital on Thursday. (ANI Photo (Representative))
         

A fruit trader from Punjab remained in critical condition in hospital on Thursday after he was shot and wounded by suspected Kashmiri militants who killed an associate of his in south Kashmir’s Shopian district in the latest attack on people associated with the fruit business, one of the mainstays of the local economy.

Meanwhile, the police released pictures of the two top Hizbul Mujahideen militants in Shopian who they suspect were responsible for killing a truck driver from Rajasthan earlier in the week.

Unidentified gunmen targeted two fruit traders from Ferozepur in Punjab at Trenz, seven kilometres from Shopian town, on Wednesday night, killing Charanjit Singh on the spot and wounding Sanjay Kumar, who was admitted in Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital in a critical state.

“Kumar had bullet injuries in his chest and is on a ventilator and continues to be critical,’’ said the medical superintendent of SMHS Hospital, Nazir Choudhary .The body of Charanjit Singh was sent to Punjab in the evening.

It was the first attack on fruit traders from outside of Jammu and Kashmir. The fruit trade is one of the mainstays of the Kashmiri economy and several attacks have taken on people associated with it in the aftermath of the Centre’s August 5 decision to strip the state of its special status and divide it into two Union territories -- J&K and Ladakh.

In September, militants barged into the house of a fruit trader in Dangerpora, Sopore, and opened fire, leaving four people, including a little girl, injured.

Singh and Kumar had been in south Kashmir from some time in connection with the fruit business. A senior police officer said an investigation was underway and the police were trying to identify the militants behind Wednesday’s attack in Shopian.

“There is every possibility that the latest attack could be handiwork of militants who killed the {truck} driver from Rajasthan,’’ the officer said on condition of anonymity.

J&K’s director general of police Dilbag Singh, who visited Shopian and chaired a high-level meeting, told reporters that the police had identified the militants behind the attack and they would be neutralised. He identified the militants as Salman Bhai, a Pakistani, Naveed and Raheel Magray.

“One of the militants had even gone to the fruit orchards asking the growers not to pluck their fruit,” said Dilbag Singh, who asked the army, Central Reserve Police Force and police officers to safeguard fruit growers and trucks transporting their produce from various parts of the valley, especially Shopian

After three back-to-back attacks on non-locals, the police released pictures of two militants including Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Naveed Babu, and one of his accomplices, holding them responsible for the attack on Rajasthani truck driver Sharif Khan, who was killed in Shirmal, Shopian district, on Monday. On Tuesday, a labourer from Chhattisgarh was killed by the gunmen in neighbouring Pulwama district.