Updated February 8th, 2024 at 15:11 IST

Terrorist group's modus operandi raises concerns with targeted attacks in Kashmir

Over the past five months, terrorist groups have displayed a concerning trend of executing targeted attacks before disappearing into hiding.

terrorist group’s modus operandi raises alarms with targeted attacks in Kashmir | Image:Republic
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Srinagar: The death toll from the recent terrorist attack in Srinagar has climbed to two, with 27-year-old Rohit from Punjab succumbing to injuries at SMHS Hospital on Thursday. This marks the first terror attack on non-locals this year, targeting two carpenters from Amritsar who had come to the Valley in pursuit of their livelihood.

The victims were attacked just outside their rented accommodation in the Shalla-Kadal area by the terrorists. “The clues gathered during the investigation strongly suggest the involvement of local terrorists in the assault,” a source said. Probe into the incident indicated that they were targeted for attention rather than their minority status.

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The incident occurred in a narrow alleyway with numerous entry and exit points, posing challenges for investigators, especially in downtown Srinagar's narrow lanes with limited CCTV coverage. The dark winter nights further complicate the identification of individuals in Pheran attire carrying pistols.

Despite both victims being struck by seven pistol shots each, targeting critical areas such as the neck and abdomen, only five pistol cartridges were found at the attack site. Joint forces remain stationed at the site, conducting a comprehensive investigation from all angles amid mounting concerns about the potential resurgence of targeted killings in the valley.

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“Both victims did not resemble Sikhs, as they were not wearing turbans. They appeared to be ‘Mechanical Sikhs’ without turbans. This indicates that they were targeted not because of their minority status but rather for being potential targets to garner attention,” the source added.

Agencies are closely monitoring the reactions of locals and minorities, considering past protests against terror groups and administrative failures post-attacks. Assurances are in place to prevent the situation from escalating, with a commitment to restoring normalcy and capturing or neutralising the assailants.

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Over the past five months, terrorist groups have displayed a concerning trend of executing targeted attacks before disappearing into hiding, followed by a hiatus lasting between 30 to 45 days. This modus operandi poses a grave threat, allowing perpetrators to elude detection and plan subsequent assaults.

Complicating the challenge is the fact that these terror outfits have not faced significant setbacks in recent months, presenting a formidable obstacle for joint security forces tasked with dismantling their modus operandi in selecting and executing targets.

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Since the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status in 2019, non-local workers in the Valley have been frequent targets of terrorist attacks:

  • In October 2019, terrorists targeted and killed truck driver Narayan Dutt in the Anantnag district, just a day before a delegation of European Union MPs visited the Valley. Dutt, originally from Katra in the Udhampur district, fell victim to the attack by terrorists in the Kanilwan area of Bijbehara in south Kashmir.
  • December 2020 witnessed another tragic incident as terrorists on motorcycles fatally shot a 70-year-old jeweler from Punjab in Srinagar's Sarai Bala locality. The victim, who had been a resident of the city for four decades, held a domicile certificate and owned property.
  • In October 2021, the prominent 68-year-old Kashmiri Pandit businessman, Makhan Lal Bindroo, was shot at point-blank range while attending to patients at his pharmacy in Srinagar around 7 pm.
  • October 2022 marked the shooting death of Puran Krishan Bhat, a Kashmiri Pandit, near his residence in the Chowdhary Gund area of the Shopian district.
  • February 2023 witnessed the fatal shooting of Sanjay Sharma, a Kashmiri Pandit employed as a bank guard, by terrorists in south Kashmir's Pulwama, leading to protests from local political parties.
  • In October 2023, a head constable of the Jammu and Kashmir Police fell victim to terrorists near his residence in the Tangmarg area of north Kashmir's Baramulla district.
  • December 2023 brought the sad demise of Police Inspector Masroor Ahmad Wani. Sustaining critical injuries after being shot by a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist while playing cricket in Srinagar in October, he succumbed to his injuries at AIIMS.

 

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Published February 8th, 2024 at 15:11 IST