- The NIA will take up the investigation into the targeted murders of 11 civilians in J&K.
- Terrorists shot and killed two Bihar labourers on Sunday.
- Five of the 11 persons murdered were from different states.
According to reports, India’s counter-terrorism agency, the National Investigation Agency, will be investigating the intended murders of four civilians in Jammu and Kashmir this month. The Union Home Ministry has charged the NIA with investigating the larger conspiracy behind the killings.
According to sources, the agency is set to take over investigations into the deaths of Virender Paswan, Makhan Lal Bindroo, Deepak Chand, and Supunder Kaur as well as two Bihar labourers.
The most recent reported killings were two Bihar labourers, Raja Rishidev and Yogendra Rishidev, who were shot dead by terrorists in Wanpoh, Kulgam district, on Sunday.
They were shot in the Valley only one day after a golgappa vendor from Bihar and a carpenter from Uttar Pradesh were murdered. According to police, Sagir Ahmad, a carpenter, was murdered in Pulwama while, Arbind Kumar Sah, a golgappa vendor, was shot at point blank range in Srinagar.
Other murders have included 70-year-old ML Bindroo, a prominent member of the Kashmiri Pandit community and the owner of a pharmacy shop in Srinagar, who was one of three people murdered on October 5 – the first day of this wave of murders.
Mohammad Shafi Lone, a cab driver in Bandipore district, and Virender Paswan, a street food seller from Bihar, were also murdered on that day.
Supunder Kaur and Deepak Chand, both teachers at a government school in Srinagar, were murdered two days later, on October 7. They were members of Kashmir’s Sikh and Hindu communities.
Five of those murdered thus far are from different states, and no particular community appears to have been targeted; Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs are among those murdered.
In either case, the killings have induced fear in the Valley, driving a mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandit families from transit camps. Dozens of families have departed, including those of government employees who returned after being employed via Prime Minister’s special programme.
Migrant labourers and employees from neighbouring states have also begun to leave J&K; a neighbour of one of those killed told a leading news channel of the country that he was leaving because he was concerned for the safety of his family.
Security authorities have started a huge operation, detaining over 900 suspects for alleged connections to separatist organisations such as the banned Jamaat-e-Islami. Police have also linked several of the attacks to “The Resistance Front,” which is thought to be an offshoot of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Anti-terror operations have also been intensified, with two terrorists, including a Lashkar commander, killed on Saturday in the Pulwama area. The day before, authorities claimed two terrorists suspected of murdering two civilians and a policeman were murdered in back-to-back encounters.
Last Monday, authorities announced that they had eliminated the terrorist responsible for the cab driver’s death. The attacks come as the army is engaged in one of its longest and most difficult anti-terrorist operations in the Poonch area; nine Indian troops have been killed in such intense combat that Army and police officials suspect they were trained by Pakistani commandos.