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Five-year-old girl among four injured in militant attack at Jammu and Kashmir’s Sopore

Unidentified gunmen opened fire and injured four persons including a 5-year-old girl and three fruit growers, in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Friday night, triggering panic among the apple traders.

Police officials said two local fruit growers, Muhammad Ashraf and Muhammad Ramzan, were stopped by two armed militants around 9 p.m. on Friday when they were travelling in a car in the periphery of the Sopore town. They were asked to identify the house of a prominent fruit grower of the Sopore apple mandi, Hamidullah Rather, a resident of Dangerpora area.

“The militants barged into the house of Mr. Rather when his son Arshid opened the door. They first opened fire at the two apple traders accompanying them. Later, Arshid and his five-year-old daughter were also fired upon,” the officials said.

Arshid, who was admitted to a hospital in Srinagar, quoted the gunmen as saying they took this action because Mr. Rather had opened his fruit shop inside the Sopore mandi despite the warnings issued to all fruit traders in the area.

All the victims were hit in the legs and were shifted to hospitals in Srinagar. The five-year-old girl, Asma Jan, is in a state of shock at the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences. “The doctors suggest she is stable,” said a relative. The girl has injuries in the legs, according to the family.

Srinagar deputy commissioner Shahid Chaudhary offered the family air ambulance to shift her to a hospital in Delhi for specialised treatment.

A senior police officer said, “The attack was carried by militants out to instil fear among the fruit traders.”

On August 29, suspected militants opened fire in Srinagar’s Parim Pora area and killed a civilian.

Sopore, also called Apple Town, is nearing peak of the apple season. The authorities said around 400 trucks carrying the fruit leave Kashmir on a daily basis, which is up from 120 trucks a fortnight ago. Over 22 lakh metric tonnes of fruit has been exported outside the Valley so far in the past three weeks. Horticulture sector remains the mainstay in J&K’s economy, with apple trade contributing over ₹15,000 crores.

The NAFED is planning to make a market intervention scheme and purchase apples worth ₹5,500 crore this year to stabilise the fast declining prices.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 4:04:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/5-year-old-among-4-injured-in-sopore-attack/article29362974.ece

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