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J&K: Killing of Non-Local Labourer in South Kashmir Sparks Outrage

Anees Zargar |
Political parties and civil society condemn attack, term claims of normalcy by the administration as a “hoax”.
Political parties and civil society condemn attack, term claims of normalcy by the administration as a “hoax”.

Representational Image. Image Courtesy: PTI

Srinagar: A brick-kiln worker was shot dead at Tumchi Nowpora village in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Monday by suspected militants in the second such attack in Jammu and Kashmir in the past few days.

According to the Jammu and Kashmir police, the non-local labourer was identified as Mukesh Kumar, who hailed from Uttar Pradesh. He succumbed to his injuries despite being taken to hospital for treatment following which security forces cordoned off the area where the attack was carried out to track the attackers.

The targeted killing is the second such attack in the Valley in two days. Suspected militants earlier on Sunday carried out a similar attack against a policeman Masroor Ahmad at Eidgah in Srinagar. The police inspector was reportedly playing cricket when armed assailants shot at him from a close range, injuring him grievously. He is currently under treatment.

“Migrant workers leave their families to earn their livelihood. To see them being targeted is heartbreaking. Condemn the killing of a labourer in Pulwama today. Deepest condolence to his family,” former chief minister of J&K, Mehbooba Mufti, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The attack on the non-local labourer was widely condemned by the local parties and members of the civil society who said the incident reflected the “fragility of the situation in the restive region.”

Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) leader Vikar Rasool, while condemning the two incidents, termed it an “utter failure” of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government. The party leader claimed that the militancy in the region had revived due to the failures of the party at Centre.

“The security situation has deteriorated to a large extent adding to the fear of psychosis amongst the common people, including non-locals. Ironically, the government is claiming normalcy whilst our security forces are sacrificing their lives in the line of the duty, fighting against terrorism,” he was quoted as saying in a party statement. 

“These poor migrant labourers are the backbone of J&K's economy, who toil in every sphere of life in order to sustain their livelihood and targeting them is against humanity and principles of all religions. Heartfelt condolences to the family of Mukesh Kumar and urge authorities to ensure everyone in Kashmir feels safe!,” former J&K CM Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

The Kashmir Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS), a Valley-based advocacy and rights group for minority Hindus, also slammed the authorities for misleading the people about the situation in the region. In a strongly-worded statement, the group said that the claims of normalcy by the administration is a “hoax”.

On October 4, suspected militants targeted a teenage civilian from rural Kashmir, Sahil Bashir Bhat, who was killed at his residence in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

The fresh spate of violence in October comes after months of relative lull after July when at least five non-local labourer were injured in such attacks. About a dozen civilians have been killed in targeted attacks since January across the Union territory even as the number of such attacks have fallen drastically as compared to the last few years.

Meanwhile, the police said that a suspected infiltrator was killed in a joint operation by the Indian Army and Kupwara Police after thwarting an infiltration attempt along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jumagund area of Keran sector. Over the past five months as many as 17 infiltrators have been killed in at least seven such infiltration bids along the LoC in North Kashmir. 

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