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J&K: Cop, Wife and Daughter Killed in Attack in South Kashmir's Awantipora

Anees Zargar |
In June, over half a dozen civilians have been killed during suspected militant attacks and at least two have been killed in targeted assassinations.

Awantipora: A policeman, his wife and daughter were killed in a shocking attack carried out by suspected militants at their residence in Hariparigam village of Awantipora area in South Kashmir on Sunday.

At about 11 p.m, Fayaz Ahmad, a Special Police Officer (SPO) – a low-level police recruit, was at home with his family when armed assailants barged inside the house and shot him dead. The attackers also shot his wife 45-year-old Raja Begum and 23-year-old daughter Rafia.

According to a relative, Fayaz’s daughter-in-law and 10-month-old granddaughter were also present inside the house during the incident, but survived the attack.

At the time of attack, the slain cop’s son, Liyaqat, who works for the Indian Army, was in Srinagar where he is posted.

A relative of the victims said that they feel they are scourged as these deaths are merely another addition to the killing statistics of the war-torn region.

Mukhtar Wani, Fayaz’s brother-in-law, told NewsClick that both mother and daughter were rushed to hospital but, succumbed to their injuries.

A visibly devastated Wani, who is also Fayaz’s cousin brother, says the problem in Kashmir should be “solved on the table” to stop the “wasting of innocent lives.”

“Innocent blood is being spilled every day here. Everyone should sit on the table and solve this problem...Gun is no solution to our problem,” Wani said.

The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, said the attack was carried out by two foreign militants from the Jaish e Mohammad (JeM) outfit.

“As the militants fired on the SPO indiscriminately, his wife and daughter came to rescue him but were also shot at,” IGP Kumar said.

A security official posted in Awantipora told NewsClick there has been an increase in the movement of Jaish cadres – mostly foreigners – in the area, traditionally a hotbed of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit. 

In June, over half a dozen civilians have been killed during suspected militant attacks and at least two have been killed in targeted assassinations. On June 2, militants shot dead a Rakesh Pandita, Bharatiya Janata Party leader, at his friend’s residence in South Kashmir’s Tral area, leaving a woman injured in the attack.

In an attack on security forces, two civilians and two policemen were killed in North Kashmir’s Sopore area on June 12 while suspected militants shot dead a shopkeeper in Srinagar’s Habba Kadal locality earlier last week on June 24. A civilian succumbed to his injuries in a grenade attack in Srinagar’s Barbarshah locality on Sunday.

The fresh spate of violence drew condemnation from political parties who termed the incident as  “senseless.”

“JKNC unequivocally condemns the barbaric killing of ex SPO Fayaz Ahmad, his wife and their 23 yr old daughter. It is a dastardly, inhuman act and a blot on the security scenario in Kashmir,” a National Conference (NC) spokesperson said.

People’s Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: "No words are strong enough to condemn the cowardly attack in Awantipora that claimed the lives of a JKP officer Fayaz Ahmad, his wife and daughter. May Allah Ta'aala grant them maghfirat and their loved ones the fortitude to bear this loss (sic)," Mufti tweeted.

Peoples Conference (PC) chairman Sajad Lone said the news of the killing was "extremely distressing" and called the perpetrators "thugs of violence".

BJP's J&K spokesman Altaf Thakur also condemned the attack as cowardly and barbaric.

CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said killing unarmed civilians cannot be justified in any way.

"Killing innocents, including women, is highly condemnable and such incidents have no place in the civilised world. Attacking civilians by the combatants is an act of cowardice and must be condemned by all in one voice," Tarigami said.

Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) condemned the killings, terming the attack as "inhuman, dastardly and mindless".

The perpetrators of this heinous crime must be identified and punished, a JKPCC spokesperson said.

The incident was also condemned by Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha. "I strongly condemn brutal terrorist attack on SPO Fayaz Ahmad & his family at Awantipora. This is an act of cowardice & perpetrators of violence will be brought to justice very soon. My deepest condolences to the family of martyr & prayers for the recovery of injured,” the LG tweeted.

(Inputs from PTI)

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