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Two labourers from UP killed in grenade attack in Shopian, 2 suspects arrested

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LG, political parties condemn attack

Srinagar: Two labourers hailing from Uttar Pradesh were killed apparently in their sleep when terrorists lobbed a grenade at them on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday in south Kashmir’s Shopian district, police said.

The incident took place at around 12.30 am on Tuesday when the victims identified as Monish Kumar and Ram Sagar, natives of UP’s Kannauj district, were sleeping in a tin-shed constructed as an out-house, the officials said, adding the duo was working in the apple orchards as labourers.

The fresh attack came two days after terrorists shot dead Kashmiri Pandit Puran Krishan Bhat outside his house at Chowdhary Gund village in the same district.

The labourers, who had come to the Kashmir Valley two months ago, were rushed to a hospital where they succumbed to their injuries.

Additional Director General of Police (Kashmir range) Vijay Kumar said a “hybrid terrorist of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba group, who lobbed the grenade, has been arrested, along with another person who is believed to be working for banned Hizbul Mujahideen terror group.”

“Hybrid terrorists” are “unlisted radicalised youths” who carry out terror strikes and slip back into their routine lives often without leaving any trace.

Talking to media in Shopian, Kumar said raids had been carried out immediately after the unfortunate news about the killings came and “we have been able to arrest two persons involved in the heinous crime while search is on for the others”.

“We will soon neutralise the Lashkar-e-Taiba man who was behind this attack,” he added.

“The arrested terrorist was identified as Imran Bashir Ganie from Harmen,” the ADGP said, claiming that he has also confessed about his involvement.

Apart from confessing about his involvement in the gruesome terror crime, Ganie led police to arrest of his accomplice, police said.

“Although the actual grenade thrower terrorist and his accomplice have been arrested by police within hours of the incident however, the main culprits who hatched the conspiracy for this gruesome terror crime and got it executed, including terrorist Danish and district commander of LeT Abid shall be brought to justice very soon,” Kumar said.

He said that the investigation in the case is vigorously going on and “based on the revelations made by the arrested terrorists and same being further corroborated by other evidences including human and technical intelligence, the hunt for other involved terrorists is on.”

Meanwhile, a police spokesperson in a statement said “during one such cordon and search operation CASO although the contact with terrorists was established, but they managed to flee from the spot. Efforts are on to nab them and searches to nab the other involved terrorists are in progress at many places,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Kannauj District Magistrate Shubhrant Kumar Shukla said the victims, natives of Danna Purwa village under the Thatia police station area, had gone to Kashmir two months ago and were working as labourers in Shopian.

Kannauj Superintendent of Police Kunwar Anupam Singh said, “After the post-mortem of the deceased labourers is done, their bodies will be brought to Lucknow by an aircraft. From Lucknow, the bodies will reach their village by road.”

The killings drew condemnation from administration as well as political parties with Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha saying that “words cannot adequately condemn today’s barbaric terror attack on Manish Kumar and Ram Sagar from Kannauj, UP. My deepest condolences to their families. One terrorist has been arrested & hunt is on for the others. Security apparatus has been directed to launch coordinated CT ops.”

He said the Shopian district administration has deputed senior officers to make arrangements for transportation of the mortal remains of the two men to their respective villages with full honours.

The LG said the administration has intensified efforts and has given “full freedom to security forces to crush terrorists and the terror ecosystem”.

“Terrorism is a curse for the civilised society. People from every community must come together to condemn heinous acts and root out terror and its elements,” he added.

Former chief minister and vice president of National Conference Omar Abdullah termed the killing as “unacceptable and indefensible targeted attack against minorities in Kashmir”.

“My heartfelt condolences to the families of Monish Kumar & Ram Sagar, may they find strength at the difficult time. Prayers for the souls of the deceased,” he tweeted.

Another former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said it was “distressing to know that two labourers were killed in an attack. At the risk of sounding repetitive, there is no sense of security and dignity for anyone living in J-K. These issues will be resolved only when GOI acknowledges that they exist.”

Veteran politician and CPI(M) leader Mohammed Yusuf Tarigami termed the killing as “shocking” and said “two poor labourers who had come to earn their livelihood lost their lives to a despicable attack. Each one of us must raise our voice to condemn such barbaric acts of violence.”

Apni Party chief Altaf Bukhari said, “Deeply shocked over the killing of two labourers in Shopian. I condemn this heinous and despicable act of violence. The vicious circle of violence must stop now. The perpetrators of the attack must be held accountable and brought to justice.”

People’s Conference chief Sajad Lone also condemned the attack. “Waking up to the horrific news of the dastardly killing of two people who happen to be non locals. Their journey to earn a livelihood ends in bloodbath at the hands of goons. These goons will rot in hell Inshallah.” (With PTI inputs)

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