October 19, 2021 11:51 pm

NIA To Probe Killing Of Minority Members

Funeral procession of slain Sikh teacher in Srinagar | KO File Photo By Abid Bhat

Srinagar: The NIA is likely to take over cases related to the killing of minority community members, including those of two teachers and a pharmacy owner, who were among 11 civilians shot dead in targeted attacks by militants in different parts of Kashmir this month, officials said on Tuesday.

Five of those killed were non-local labourers and these included four residents of Bihar. The killings triggered panic among skilled and unskilled migratory workers who started leaving Kashmir a fortnight ahead of their normal schedule.

Lakhs of labourers from different parts of the country come to the Valley every year in early March for jobs such as masonry, carpentry, welding and farming, and go back home before the onset of winter.

Makhan Lal Bindroo, a prominent Kashmiri Pandit and the owner of Srinagar's most noted pharmacy, was shot dead at his shop on October 5. Two days later, two teachers -- Supinder Kaur, a Srinagar-based Sikh, and Deepak Chand, a Hindu from Jammu -- were killed inside a government school here.

The probe into the three killings, which drew widespread condemnation from across the country, is likely to be taken over by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the officials said, adding that the notification for takeover of the cases is yet to come.

They said that the NIA is also likely to take over the killing of non-local labourers.

On the same day when Bindroo was killed, two more civilians -- a chaat' vendor Virendra Paswan from Bihar and a taxi driver Mohammad Shafi Lone - were shot dead at Hawal in Srinagar and Naidkhai in Bandipora district, respectively.

Besides the five killings, militants killed Majid Ahmad Gojri at Srinagar's Karan Nagar locality and Mohammad Shafi Dar at the city's Batmaloo area on October 2. Two non-locals -- Arvind Kumar Sah of Bihar and Saghir Ahmad of Uttar Pradesh were killed in Srinagar and Pulwama districts, respectively on October 16.

In another attack on non-locals on October 17, two labourers from Bihar were killed and another injured in Kulgam district of south Kashmir.

The officials said that the Counter-Intelligence Kashmir (CIK), a wing of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, is also likely to take over cases related to the killing of two members of the Gujjar gang along with a case related to the killing of Mehran Ali Sheikh, who was shot dead outside his house at Nawa Kadal locality here in July.

Sheikh and Gojri were friends and part of a group called "16 Gujjar Gang".

After a spate of civilian killings, security forces shot dead 13 militants in nine separate encounters this month till October 16. The dead included four militants who, according to police, were responsible for four civilian killings in the first week of October.

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