Another Civilian Shot Dead, Gunmen On the Loose In Sopore

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SRINAGAR: Unidentified gunmen, while continuing targeted killings in restive north Kashmir town of Sopore, shot dead another former militant on Monday morning taking the death toll of civilian killings to four in last five days.

Reports reaching here said that two gunmen  shot dead a former militant Aijaz Ahmad Reshi (40) in Mundji locality of Sopore at around 8. 15 A.M. Eyewitnesses in Mundji said the Aijaz was shot dead near a pharmacy by two men wielding pistols.

Doctors at Sub-District Hospital Sopore said. “We received the body at around 8:30 A.M . According to medical officer there, Aijaz was shot in forehead and had died instantly

Residents said the slain man was formerly associated with Harkat-al Mujahedin and had left militancy after serving five years of imprisonment.

Sopore town and its peripheries have seen a surge in target killings since May 25, last month, when a Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) franchise employee was shot dead by newly floated Lashkar-e-Islam outfit after they directed all telecom operators and people associated with the trade to wind up their business. On June 9 gunmen shot dead a pharmacist and an activist of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Sheikh Altaf of Iqbal Nagar Sopore at New Colony Sopore.

On June 12 gunmen struck again and shot dead a shopkeeper and Hurriyat(G)  activist Khurshid Ahmed Bhat at Bomai Sopore. 

On June 14 unknown gunmen shot dead former militant Me’rajuddin Dar at Badambagh Sopore.

With sixth  killing in less than a fortnight fear has gripped Sopore where support for ‘freedom movement’ against India runs deep.

As the news spread large number of people came out of their homes, raising anti-government slogans, pelted stones on the police party that had arrived there.

According to family sources, Ajaz Ahmed Reshi, grandson of a local Jama’at-e-Islami leader, was arrested by police in 2007 for his affiliation with militant outfit Harkatul Mujhadeen. “He was released in 2010 from Sub Jail Baramulla. In 2011 he was again put behind the bars for five months. Since then, he was not affiliated with any organization. He took to farming and was living a peaceful life. We fail to understand why he was killed. He didn’t harm anyone,” one of the family members was quoted as saying by CNS.

“He is the 6th victim of a fresh spell of terror in the last less than a month in Sopore where J&K government has lost total control on the situation and, after a long pause of peace, unbridled gunmen are enjoying a field day” said a senior journalist Ahmad Ali Fayaz.

One report said the police and army cordoned off Mundji and sealed the roads leading to the village. “The government forces carried out searches as well as were checking identity cards of the people.”

Hundreds of people participated in the funeral procession of Aijaz. He was buried in local graveyard and the killing evoked spontaneous shutdown in Sopore and Baramulla where police resorted to tear gas shelling to disperse the agitated youth. 

People chase assailants

Mundji( Sopore):  As the two armed assailants began running away after killing Aijaz Ahmad Reshi, some people present there, tried to catch hold of them, but the pistol borne terrorists fired some shots in air and fled from the scene.

Eyewitnesses said that “two pistol wielding youth were about 18 to 20 years old and were wearing jeans. People chased them but one of the assailants fired several shots in air and as a result people ducked for cover,” they said adding that both the killers disappeared in the nearby orchards.

Dog Attacks Assassins, Is Killed

Mundji:  A stray dog seeing 40 year old Aijaz Rishi falling down after being shot in head by gunmen chased them and mauled one, reports quoting villagers said.

Eyewitnesses said, as people chased the assailants, a dog followed the suit. While residents ducked for cover after gunmen fired shots in air, dog jumped on one of them and caught hold of his leg. To save him from canine assault the assailant shot the dog dead.

It was not clear whether the gunman was injured in the canine assault. 

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