A gol-gappa hawker from Bihar was shot dead by terrorists in Srinagar today, in the eighth such killing of civilians in the past two weeks. A carpenter from Uttar Pradesh was also shot at by terrorists, leaving him critically injured, in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
“Terrorists fired at two non-local labourers in Srinagar and Pulwama. Arbind Kumar Sah from Banka in Bihar died in Srinagar and Sagir Ahmad from Uttar Pradesh is critically injured in Pulwama. Areas have been sealed and searches are on,” the Union Territory’s police said in a tweet.
The terrorists shot the gol-gappa hawker at point-blank range, sources said.
A spate of targeted civilian killings in Kashmir had led to exodus of several Kashmiri Pandits living in transit camps last over a week ago. Dozens of families – many government employees who returned to the valley after being given jobs under the Prime Minister’s special employment scheme for Kashmiri migrants – have quietly left accommodations.
“Strongly condemn the killing of street vendor Arbind Kumar in a terror attack in Srinagar today. This is yet another case of a civilian being targeted like this. All Arbind Kumar did was come to Srinagar in search of earning opportunities and it’s reprehensible that he was murdered,” former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted.
Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone tweeted, “This is pure terror. Yet again a non-local vendor shot and killed in Idgah. What a shame. How cowardly can it get.”
Five of the eight victims in the past two weeks were not Muslims, a clear indication that Hindus and outsiders are the main targets of the attacks.
The police had launched a massive crackdown and detained some 900 people across Jammu and Kashmir for their suspected links with separatists.
The police have also intensified anti-terrorist operations. According to the police, 13 have been killed in the past one week.
“13 terrorists have been killed in nine encounters after civilian killings. We have killed three out of five terrorists in Srinagar in less than 24 hours,” the Inspector General of Police said.
The targeted killings have sparked massive outrage and the police are under pressure to prevent these attacks.