Srinagar: Two civilians abducted from their homes and then brutally killed, their bodies found lying in orchards, in Hajin area of Bandipra were suspected of being informers for government forces, but both of them were innocent, Senior Superintendent of Police Bandipore, Zulfiqar Azad, told Kashmir Reader.
“Both the persons were innocent,” Zulfiqar said. “The militants are actually venting out their frustration at the successful security operations in the area. They believed that the two civilians were helping the security forces, working as informers, but the truth is that they had no affiliation with the forces.”
Naseer Ahmad Sheikh, the son-in-law of Farooq Ahmad Parray whose son was killed by militants last year, was abducted by militants earlier this week and his body was found lying in an orchard in a nearby village the next day. Two days later, Manzoor Ahmad Bhat was abducted from his home along with his father Abdul Gaffar Bhat late on Wednesday night. His decapitated body was found lying in an apple orchard in a nearby village on Friday.
Police sources said that Abdul Gaffar Bhat, who told Kashmir Reader that the militants “released him” after firing a bullet into his waist, had been an erstwhile member of the Ikhwan, the notorious pro-government militia that carried out several killings and abductions and tortures in Hajin in the 1990s.
Another police official in Hajin said that militants have again established a strong base in the area after being almost wiped out in November 2017.
“The men behind the recent killings are a local militant, Salim Parray, and his Pakistani accomplices,” the police official said. “The local militant has helped Lashkar in re-establishing its base in Hajin.”
Six militants and an Air Force commando were killed, and an army soldier was injured, in a fierce encounter in Hajin in November 2017.
The police official said that 42 persons including 28 militants, 10 government forces personnel, and four civilians have been killed in Hajin area in militancy-related incidents in the past one year.
When asked how militancy has managed to come back to Hajin, the police official said, “Hajin is the most strategic area in central and north Kashmir. It is close to Sopore, Srinagar, Ganderbal and Bandipore. It is also a congested town that is home to 50,000 people. It easily provides shelter.”
“It is very difficult to arrive at the conclusion that militancy has been wiped out from Hajin. Militants will always remain in the area,” the police official said.