Lucknow: The killing of non-local civilians – this time two labourers -- continues unabated in the Valley. By an uncanny coincidence, both were residents of Bihar.
The killings have come on the heels of a street hawker from Bihar and a labourer from Uttar Pradesh being shot dead in two back-to-back attacks by terrorists on Saturday.
On Sunday, in the brazen strike, gunmen barged into the rented accommodation of the labourers in Kulgam and fired indiscriminately. Three labourers received bullet injuries and two of them died on the spot. The deceased have been identified as Raja Reshi Dev and Jogindar Reshi Devr. With that, the number of civilians killed in targeted attacks this month has gone up to 11.
They (labourers) were shot six times. ‘‘I don't know how many gunmen were there, as I was inside the room," an eyewitness said, reports a news portal. Intel reports have warned of militants targeting spots in the Valley with high density of non-local labourers, especially fruit and vegetable mandis, the portal added.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday evening talked to Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor about the killings.
Meanwhile, Tapan Deka, the special director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), has reached Srinagar. The IB is also going to hold a National Security Strategies conference on Monday during which the issue of civilian killings and cross-border terrorism are likely to be discussed.
The killings came even as Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha vowed to avenge every drop of their blood by hunting down the terrorists and their sympathisers. He pointed out that attempts are being made to disrupt the peace and hamper the socio-economic progress of the state.
Curiously, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah said Kashmiris were not involved in the recent killings and that these attacks were part of a conspiracy to defame the community.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Sunday asked RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat what development Jammu and Kashmir had witnessed, adding that the Centre has failed to secure the union territory.
In another development, three persons, including a mother-son duo, were detained for questioning during an ongoing search operation in the forest belt of Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch and Rajouri border districts where nine soldiers were killed in two separate gunfights with terrorists over the past week. Officials said the entire forest area from Mendhar to Thanamandi remains under a strict cordon and a massive search operation is on to neutralise the terrorists moving from one place to another in an attempt to escape the dragnet.
Less than an hour after media picked up an emergency advisory on Sunday directing that non-locals be shifted to the nearest security forces camp in the Valley, authorities said they did not issue any such advisory. Debunking reports of non-locals being asked to come to the police stations, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, said: "No such order has been issued, it is fake."