Terror revisits Kashmir ahead of EU lawmakers visit; one dead, 19 injured in militant attacks

Srinagar: Militants upped the ante on the eve of European Union lawmaker’s Kashmir visit. They carried out two back to back attacks, killing a trucker and injuring 19 civilians across the valley on Monday.

The first incident occurred at the apple rich town of Sopore at 3 pm when militants hurled a grenade near a bus stand which missed the target and exploded on the road. In the incident, 19 people were injured.

“Six of the injured- who had splinter injuries in their neck, head and chest, were shifted to Srinagar hospitals while others were discharged from the Sopore hospital after initial treatment. The condition of an injured woman is stated to be critical,” said a police official.

Panic gripped the area with people running helter-skelter for safety. Police and security forces rushed immediately to the spot and cordoned off the area to track down the militants responsible for the incident.

This is the second grenade attack in Kashmir in the last three days. On Saturday, six Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were injured in a grenade attack in Karan Nagar area of Srinagar.

Hours later militants struck again and shot dead a non-local trucker at Kanilwan village of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Anantnag Altaf Khan said he was loading apples when he was shot dead. “He was in the middle of loading apples. He is from Jammu and Kashmir. However there is no clarity on the name”, he said.

This is the fifth incident and second in four days where militants have targeted non-locals in Kashmir. Militants went on a rampage on Thursday evening killing two non-local truck drivers and setting apple trucks on fire in South Kashmir’s Shopian district.

On October 14, militants appeared in Shirmal village and hijacked the truck along with the driver. After covering a few kilometres, they took the driver to a location where he was shot dead from point-blank range. Later, they set the truck ablaze before fleeing from the spot. The slain truck driver was identified as Sharief Khan from Rajasthan.

Two days later on October 16, militants unleashed a fresh wave of terror against the non-locals when they killed an apple trader and a migrant labourer in two separate incidents in Shopian and Pulwama districts of South Kashmir. Fear has gripped fruit growers after the attacks on non-locals, including apple traders and truck drivers in restive south Kashmir. A large quantity of apple crop lies in the orchards and warehouses, waiting to be exported to other state markets.

Ishfaq Ul Hassan

An accredited journalist with 22 years of professional experience, Ishfaq-Ul-Hassan has worked as a reporter based in Kashmir for two decades. He has covered various beats including militancy, politics, defence, minorities, social issues, religious groups and women issues in Kashmir. He had previously worked as Special Correspondent in Jammu and Kashmir for DNA (Daily News and Analysis) Newspaper for 13 years. Ishfaq is also associated with the New Delhi- based television company `Asia Pacific Communication Associates’ which produced the famous series “Subah-Bakhar-Kashmir” for satellite Kashmir channel of Doordarshan. In 2004, he was awarded the Charkha-Sanjoy Ghosh Fellowship for Peace and Development for his research on families divided across the LOC in Kashmir.

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