In Srinagar, six back-to-back civilian killings jolt govt

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At a time when authorities were claiming to have succeeded in making Srinagar city a “militant-free” zone, the killing spree in the past one week in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir has left the government worried.

Since 2 October, six civilians have been killed at different locations in the city by the suspected militants.

Sources in the police department told The Kashmir Walla that the administration would be taking an overall stock of the security situation in the city.

“It is a matter of concern. The issue has been taken up at the highest level,” sources said.

Sources said that taking cognisance of the spurt in the civilian killings, Home Minister Amit Shah called a high level meeting at the north block in New Delhi on the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir. 

Sources said that the meeting was attended by the NSA chief Ajit Doval, home secretary Ajay Bhalla, and the intelligence Bureau chief Arvind Kumar.

The meeting, which lasted for 2.45 hours, also saw the participation of CRPF chief Kuldip Singh and BSF General Pankaj Singh

Shah is expected to visit Jammu and Kashmir from October 23-25 to review the security situation in the region.  The Home Minister will also take a stock of the ongoing development of the central government funded projects in the erstwhile state.

Unknown gunmen on Thursday shot dead the principal of a school and a woman teacher in Sangam area of Eidgah, Srinagar. The duo has been identified as 46-year-old Supinder Kour from Srinagar city and 39-year-old Deepak Chand, a resident of Bakshi Nagar in Jammu.

The Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh said that killing of unarmed civilians in Srinagar is an attempt to damage the age-old traditional communal harmony in Kashmir.

“The police have already got some clues about previous killings and will also probe the fresh incident too. The killers will be nabbed very soon,” Singh said while talking with reporters at the outside of the Government Boys Higher Secondary School Sangam, Eidgah.

On 15 September, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Vijay Kumar said that four militants are active in Srinagar and police are trying to either arrest them or to eliminate them in the encounters.

Srinagar has witnessed ten militancy related attacks this year so far.

In January, a 70-year-old jewellery shop owner in Srinagar’s Saraibala, Satpal Nischal, was shot dead by a militant group. One month later on 28 February, suspected militants killed Aakash Mehra, son of the owner of Krishna Dhaba at Sonwar in Srinagar.  Two days later, militants shot dead two policemen in the Baghat area of Srinagar. On 25 March, there was a big attack on CRPF at Lawaypora in Srinagar in which three personnel died.

On 23 June, militants killed a mobile shopkeeper Umar Ahmad in Habba Kadal. On 27 July Mehran Ali Pathan, a resident of Safa Kadal who was affiliated with a local Gujjar gang, was killed in the Nawa Kadal area of Srinagar.

On 9 August, suspected militants killed Ghulam Rasool Dar and his wife Jawahira Begum at their rented residence in Lal Chowk Srinagar. The couple belonged to Redwani Kulgam in South Kashmir.

On 2 October, Majid Ahmad Gojri a resident of Chattabal Srinagar was killed in Karanagar area of Srinagar while PDD employee Mohammad Shafi Dar a resident of Batamallo was killed outside his home. 

On 5 October, famous chemist Makhan Lal Bindroo , Virendar Paswan a non local street vendor were killed in Iqbal Park, and Lal Bazar area respectively.  

In August last year, the police had declared Srinagar ‘militant-free’.

However, in the first week of September last year, militant Abbas Sheikh shifted his base from Kulgam in south Kashmir to Srinagar and was largely held responsible for reviving the militancy in the city by recruiting youth from different pockets of the city.

Abbas Sheikh and his deputy were killed in a shootout with the government forces in Aloochi Bagh area of uptown Srinagar on 23 August this year.

Sources said that Sheikh has succeeded in creating many sleeper cells in the city, which seems to be getting active lately.

After the abrogation of Article 370, The Resistance Front (TRF), a new militant outfit, surfaced in the valley. The group has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks in the city. However, the police have maintained that the group is a part of the Lashkar-e-Toiba outfit, who have reportedly claimed responsibility for most of the attacks in the city. 

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