Srinagar: A Kashmiri Pandit (KP) was shot dead while his cousin was grievously injured in a terrorist attack in Shopian district of South Kashmir on Tuesday. Following the terror incident, massive operation was underway to nab the attackers.
The deceased has been identified as Sunil Kumar while his cousin has been identified as Pitambar, who is currently in the hospital undergoing treatment for his grievous injuries. The incident took place in their ancestral village Chotipora of Shopian district where three Kashmiri Pandit families lived.
"Terrorists fired upon civilians in an apple orchard in Chotipora area of Shopian. One person died and one injured. Both belong to the minority community. Injured person has been shifted to hospital. Area cordoned off. Further details shall follow,” Kashmir Zone Police tweeted soon after the incident.
The incident took place less than 24 hours after terrorists hurled a grenade at the house of minority community member in Chadoora area of Budgam, leaving one person injured.
Police said, “Three Pandit families are living in Chotipora and a guard of Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police is guarding the cluster. The guard was provided to them last year after targetted killings of non-locals and Kashmiri Pandits began in valley.”
Soon after the incident, a massive Cordon and Search Operation was launched by police, army and CRPF which was still underway. So far nobody was detained.
Pertinently, the development occurred after about a week which saw the killings of three Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists, including Lateef Rather, who, police had said, was involved in the killing of Kashmiri Pandit employee Rahul Bhat.
Police said, “At about 1130 hours, Shopian Police received information about a terror crime incident at Chotipora area of Shopian where terrorists had fired upon civilians. Senior police officers along with reinforcement reached at the terror crime spot."
"Preliminary investigation revealed that terrorists had fired upon two civilians in an apple orchard at Chotipora area of Shopian district. In this terror crime incident, two civilians, identified as Pitamber Kumar Butt son of Arjun Butt and Sunil Butt, son of Sriji Butt, resident of Chotigam Shopian belonging to minority community (Kashmiri Pandit) received critical gunshot injuries. Both the injured were immediately shifted to hospital where one of the injured persons, Sunil Butt succumbed to his injuries, however, the condition of the other injured person is stated to be stable,” the police added.
Police registered a case in this regard under relevant sections of law. “Investigation is in progress and officers continue to work to establish the full circumstances of this terror crime. Area has been cordoned and search in the area is going on,” police said.
Notably, on May 12, police had said that terrorists had stormed into a revenue office in Chadoora town of Budgam and shot dead Rahul Bhat. Bhat (35), had got the job of a clerk under the special employment package for migrants in 2012-11.
Soon after killing of Rahul Bhat, Kashmiri Pandits took to the streets.The protests later intensified after a woman school teacher Rajni Bala, who was a resident of Samba district of Jammu, was shot dead on May 31, causing a major uproar among Kashmiri Pandits, who threatened to undertake enmasse migration from the valley if they were not relocated to safe places.
Since last October, Kashmir has been witnessing a series of targeted killings by terrorists. Many of the victims were migrant workers or Kashmiri Pandits. In October last year, seven civilians were killed in five days – and they also included a Kashmiri Pandit, a Sikh and two migrant Hindus.
In the current month, Mohammad Amrez, a migrant worker from Bihar’s Madhepura, was shot dead at Sumbal in the Bandipora district of north Kashmir.
Earlier on August 4, another migrant labourer was killed and two others injured in a grenade attack at Gadoora in the Pulwama district. On June 3, a brick kiln worker was killed in the Budgam district.