Traders in shock after Shopkeeper’s killing in Srinagar

Traders in shock after Shopkeeper’s killing in Srinagar

Though no militant outfit claimed responsibility for the killing, police sources said, it was the handiwork of a local module of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen outfit. AFP file photo

Fear was palpable among traders in Srinagar on Saturday in the wake of the killing of a shopkeeper by unidentified militants in Parimpora area on the outskirts of Srinagar city on Thursday evening.

65-year-old Ghulam Mohammad was shot dead by bike-borne militants wielding pistol, when he was closing his shop at Parimpora in the evening. A local in the area said that the deceased was a commission-and-forwarding (CnF) agent and was supplying goods to shopkeepers, mostly from north Kashmir.

“He was carrying on with his business despite the shutdown. During 2016 unrest also, he never observed shutdown and most probably it became the reason for his killing,” the local who wished anonymity told DH.

Though no militant outfit claimed responsibility for the killing, police sources said, it was the handiwork of a local module of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen outfit.

Shops, mostly selling provision items, had started to reopen in several areas of Srinagar from the past few days. However, on Saturday most of such shopkeepers had kept their shutters closed and were seen selling their products from the small entry from rear side of their shops.

“People force us to open shops as we sell essential commodities which include milk, bread, baby food and other items. If the reports that Parimpora shopkeeper was killed for opening his shop are true, it is most unfortunate. Nobody wants to get killed for selling essential commodities,” said Nazir Ahmad Dar, a shopkeeper in old city.

There have also been reports of stone-pelters attacking street vendors from several areas of the city since the beginning of this week. On Monday a truck driver was killed in a stone-pelting incident on Srinagar-Jammu national highway near Bijbehara area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

Meanwhile, normal life remained crippled across Kashmir on 27th consecutive day on Saturday due to spontaneous shutdown and communication blockade, even as restrictions placed on Friday were relaxed and mobile connectivity restored partially in some north Kashmir areas.

Following relaxation in curbs, a large number of private vehicles were seen plying in various of Srinagar and elsewhere, though the public transport still remains off the roads. The attendance of students in primary, middle and high schools, which have been reopened, continues to remain thin, though teachers are reporting back to duties in these schools.

The valley has come to a grinding halt due to restrictions, shutdown and communication blockade since August 5 when New Delhi scrapped Article 370 and reorganized Jammu and Kashmir state into two union territories. Hundreds of people, including former chief minister Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, continue to remain in custody with reports of more arrests by the police pouring in from several areas of Kashmir.