SRI NAGAR: In the third militancy-related incident in south Kashmir in as many days, a schoolteacher was found with his throat slit in Shopian. Police suspect Hizbul Mujahideen behind the killing.
The body of Aijaz Ahmad Lone was recovered near Lar Maidan Stadium in Wathoo village on Wednesday morning, police said. A hand-written note of Zia Squad found near the body termed the teacher’s killing as the revenge for the death of three terrorists during an encounter last week.
On October 9, three Hizbul militants were killed by security forces at Gatipora in Shopian. The terrorists might have killed the teacher for being an ‘informer’. “They may have suspected him of passing information about the presence of the militants in his house to the security forces, leading to their killing,” a police officer said.
However, Shopian’s Superintendent of Police (SP) Shriram Dinkar told The New Indian Express that the slain teacher was not an informer. “In fact, he was an overground worker of militants. He was their associate,” Dinkar said. “The police have registered a case and launched a manhunt to track down the militants involved in the killing of the teacher,” he added.
Lone’s killing was the third militancy related incident in the volatile south Kashmir district in the last three days. On Tuesday, a mob set on fire the house of PDP worker Mohammad Ramzan Sheikh at Huomhuna, Imam Sahab area of Shopian. Sheikh, a former sarpanch, was shot dead inside his house on Monday evening. A Hizbul terrorist also died in a scuffle with the PDP worker’s family members.
Trying to play down the incidents of militancy, the SP said: “You are looking at only these three incidents. You should also look at the fact that in the last 10 days, five local militants have been killed in Shopian”. Three of the five slain militants were top commanders. “The militants are desperate and are resorting to such incidents to regain their lost ground. They are going after soft targets,” Dinkar said. “We have identified the Hizb militants involved in the killing of Sheikh and will track them down soon,” the SP said.
The people involved in setting Sheikh’s house on fire had also identified, Dinkar said.