- 5 assailants held, booked for attempt to murder, says DC
Jammu/Anantnag: Two Muslim truckers from the Valley received serious burn wounds after a Hindu mob set them on fire in Udhampur district of Jammu region. The driver escaped unhurt, while a policeman who tried to douse the fire also sustained burns.
The victims have been identified as Zahid Ahmad Bhat (19) son of Ghulam Rasool and Showkat Ahmad Dar (35) son of Ghulam Mohammad, both residents of Anantnag. The driver, Rameez Ahmed Bhat escaped unhurt.
The injured were shifted to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMC&H), but doctors referred them to Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital because of the seriousness of their injuries.
Mohammad Jabbar, Showkat’s brother-in-law, told Kashmir Reader, “They were returning to Srinagar after delivering a consignment in New Delhi. When they reached Udhampur they found that there was a strike so they parked the truck on the roadside in Shiv Nagar. At about 11.30pm, two youths appeared and smashed the windshield. Others joined them and one of them threw a petrol bomb inside the truck.”
He said the driver escaped when he saw the mob coming towards the truck.
Rameez, who spoke to his brother Tahir Ahmad over phone, said the mob broke the windshield after “we refused to open the window”.
“We jumped out of the truck and tried to run away. Although I escaped they caught Zahid and Showkat and set them afire after sprinkling oil over their bodies. Before setting them on fire the goons beat them up mercilessly with lathis,” Rameez told his brother.
Udhampur deputy commissioner Dr Shahid Iqbal said the entire incident was recorded by a CCTV camera, which led to the arrest of one of the attackers who named four others during questioning. Except for one, all accused have been arrested and identified as Harish, Bal Bahadur, Sandoor Singh and Suneet Singh, all residents of Udhampur.
The police have launched a search for the absconder. The accused have been booked under for attempt to murder, rioting, incitement to communal violence and under the provisions of Explosives Substances Act.
A senior police officer said on condition of anonymity that the murderous attack was carried out in a planned manner, as the assailants had been informed about the vehicle and its occupants.
The attack occurred in the backdrop of simmering communal tensions in Udhampur, where carcasses of three cows had been found outside an office on Thursday.
Post-mortem had revealed that the bovines died due to consumption of a poisonous substance, amid concerns by various pro-India leaders and pro-freedom groups that “some elements” were trying to foment religious tensions in the district, especially after legislator Er Rashid was beaten up by BJP legislators in the assembly on Thursday for hosting a ‘beef party’ at his official residence a day earlier. Hindu groups in Jammu have protested against Rashid.
—With inputs from Anantnag correspondent