(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)
Another trucker, his helper shot dead in Kashmir; toll reaches 5
It is the latest in a series of attacks targeting the fruit industry, one of the economic mainstays of the Valley, and non-Kashmiris, following the change in the constitutional status of Jammu & Kashmir.
Updated: Oct 25, 2019 05:44 IST
Suspected militants on Thursday shot dead a truck driver and his associate in south Kashmir’s Shopian district, taking the death toll of people from outside the state killed by militants to five in two weeks, the police said.
Another driver, who was injured in the incident, was rushed to a hospital in Srinagar. The truck drivers had gone to ferry apples.
“Terrorists killed two civilians in Shopian and left one injured, who has been shifted to hospital,” a police spokesperson said.
It is the latest in a series of attacks targeting the fruit industry, one of the economic mainstays of the Valley, and non-Kashmiris, following the change in the constitutional status of Jammu & Kashmir. The Centre, in August, effectively revoked Article 370 which gave special status to the state, and bifurcated it into two Union territories — J&K and Ladakh.
The police have called these attacks attempts to intimidate the people against resuming normal life in the Valley.
The incident also comes on a day when the Block Development Council polls were held for the first time in the history of the state ahead of its bifurcation on October 31.
Jammu & Kashmir director general of police Dilbagh Singh on Thursday said militants stopped three trucks with registration numbers from Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab, and opened fire at the drivers near Chittargam in Shopian. They also torched two of the trucks, causing partial damage.
Security forces rushed to the spot after the attack to cordon off the area.
One of the truck drivers killed by militants has been identified as Iliyas Khan, a resident of Alwar in Rajasthan, while the identity of his associate is being ascertained. The second driver injured in Thursday’s attack has been identified as Jeevan Singh from Punjab’s Hoshiarpur.
Last week, a fruit trader from Punjab was killed and another was critically injured after militants opened fire at them at Trenz village in Shopian.
The same day, on October 16, a brick kiln worker from Chhattisgarh was gunned down by militants in south Kashmir’s Pulwama. Two militants, including a suspected Pakistani national, killed a truck driver from Rajasthan and assaulted an orchard owner in Shopian district on October 14.
Fearing violence, the Jammu & Kashmir administration placed restrictions in the Valley after the August 5-6 move to revoke Article 370. Curbs have since been eased in the Valley since, with the state taking out newspaper advertisements asking people not to be afraid of militant threats and resume their businesses even as heavy deployment of security forces continues.
After the attacks, DGP Singh visited Shopian and chaired a high-level meeting, after which an advisory was issued to non-local drivers “not to lift apples from deep inside villages”.
According to state officials, eight lakh metric tonnes of fruit has been exported from the Valley in the last three months, to various fruit markets of the country.
(With inputs from PTI)
First Published: Oct 25, 2019 01:20 IST