Kashmir Indepth

Killing of Non Locals: South Kashmir under tight grip of fear again

Srinagar, Oct 17 : Fear has gripped south Kashmir districts again after the killing of non-local trader, a driver and a laborer in south Kashmir’s twin districts of Pulwama and Shopian in past two days.

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Residents here told wire service, soon after the dusk,  they confine themselves to their homes again as fear looms large after unidentified gunmen targeted non-locals, which included an apple trader from Punjab, a driver and a labourer from Chhattisgarh. One more non- local person was critically injured.

Residents said that the duo were shot dead a day after a truck driver from Rajasthan was killed and his truck was burnt into ashes. “Somehow life was returning to normal, but fresh killings of non-locals have triggered a new wave of fear,” Muhammad Iqbal, a local resident from Aglar, Shopiansaid.

Since first week of October, the normal life was picking pace in these twin district after people started plucking of apple crop after the plucking in the area was delayed almost a month in wake of revocation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir by Government of India on August 5.

Truckers from outside states have been coming in the area from last some days and ferrying of apple boxes were gaining pace.  “Now security forces have been deployed in a strength wherever the trucks supposed to ferry the fruit load. Besides, there is also heavy deployment of forces near the fruit mandis etc,” said an apple grower, wishing no to be named.

The government has also ordered opening of fruit mandi Aglar, Shopian last week after it (government) announced opening of procurement center in the mandi and heavy department of forces were placed there.

The fear has not gripped only non-locals here, but also local inhabitants, where people prefer to finish their work before sun set or keep it for other day due to the fear that they may be harassed, thrashed or killed.

The fear is so palpable that the inhabitants prefer sleep over doing some other work after dinner, which is now done immediately after Isha prayers (last prayer of the day).

In Aglar, Pinjoora, Shirmal, Arhama, Lassipora, Tahab, Trenz, Turkawangam  villages in the area, the inhabitants told KNO that the villages would have been buzzing till late in the evening as the season’s harvest is at its peak, which is contradictory now again after the killings.

Like other parts of Kashmir, the area is on edge since August 5, after article 370 was scrapped and Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two union Territories (UT). (KNO)

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