SRINAGAR:In the fourth killing in a week and sixth in a month in separatist hardliner Syed Ali Geelani’s stronghold, a former militant was gunned down in Sopore in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Monday morning.
Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has ordered Home Department inquiry into the killings.
Police sources said two unidentified assailants opened fire on Aijaz Ahmed Reshi, a shopkeeper who was a one-time Harkat-ul-Mujahideen militant and had spent five years in prison.
“He sustained multiple bullet injuries to the head and died while being shifted to a local hospital,” a source said. Reshi’s family members said he wasn’t affiliated to any organisation and was running his own business, adding that his grandfather was a member of the separatist Jamaat-e-Islami.
Reshi’s killing took place a day after a former JKLF militant was shot dead in the Sopore town by unidentified men. He is the fourth civilian to be killed in a week in Sopore, and his was the sixth such killing in three weeks in the town.
While two of the six killed were former militants, two were activists of the Geelani-led Hurriyat faction and two were into the mobile telephony business.
The killings have created a fear psychosis in the township, resulting in the internal displacement of some people associated with the hardline Hurriyat Conference. Besides, some Jamaat-e-Islami leaders and workers and some former militants, who are now living a normal life, have shifted to safer places.
Though they have been unable to solve the cases, police have blamed the killings on the Hizbul Mujahideen, a charge denied by the militant group. An official spokesman said police had set up a special monitoring mechanism to keep track of the investigation.
Meanwhile, JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik led a protest rally and a sit-in at Sopore.
Former CM Omar Abdullah said: “It’s going from bad to worse there and yet apologists for this government and its CM will tell you things are great in J&K”.
Separatists call shutdown today
Separatist leaders, who link Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s “use-terrorists-to-neutralise-terrorists” remark to the spurt in the killings, closed ranks to call a Valley shutdown on Wednesday and a protest march on Friday