Independence Day celebrations in Kashmir marked by the raising of the national flag and ‘Tiranga Rallies’ at various places have frustrated terror outfits and prompted new warnings, especially those directed at minorities and non-Kashmiris, sources in the Union Home Ministry said on Tuesday.
On a day when a Kashmiri Pandit was shot dead and his brother injured in firing by terrorists at an apple orchard in the Shopian district, government sources said the attack was carried out by two terrorists linked to a group that calls itself Al Badr.
“One Adil Wani of Katapora has been identified by one of the witnesses. We have launched massive search operations and are looking for the duo,” a senior officer in charge of counterterror operations in the valley told NDTV.
According to him, the victim Sunil Kumar’s family was one of those families who never migrated from Kashmir even during the 1990s when militancy was at its peak. After recent targeted killings, a Jammu and Kashmir Police guard was stationed outside their home.
“The incident took place when both brothers were working in the orchard. Terrorists opened fire from an AK rifle,” the officer said.
The attack was claimed by ‘Kashmir Freedom Fighters’, an offshoot of Al Badr, in a statement that said that the Pandit brothers had been targeted for encouraging people to take part in the ‘Tiranga rallies’.
According to sources, the government is bracing for more such violence based on inputs from the Multi-Agency Centre – the country’s top body for intelligence sharing
“There are regular inputs which suggest that a large quantity of small arms and ammunition has been smuggled from across the border, and it’s a clear indicator that such targeted killing and isolated cases of grenade throwing will see an increase in coming days,” said a senior officer in the Home Ministry.
According to him, such incidents can be carried out by anyone, even without training. “They are targeting symbols or people who are either perceived to be close to the establishment or represent the administration set up in respective areas,” he said.