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Principal, teacher shot dead inside Srinagar school

Teachers grieve outside a school in Srinagar where militants killed two of their colleagues on October 7, 2021.   | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

The Principal and a teacher of a government school in Srinagar were shot dead inside the school on Thursday.

The killing comes just two days after three civilians, including well-known Kashmiri Pandit chemist M.L. Bindroo of Bindroo Medicate, were killed in the Kashmir Valley.

TRF claims responsibility

The Resistant Force (TRF), a militant outfit, has claimed responsibility for the school attack.

The police said militants barged into the Government Boys Higher Secondary School, Iddgah Sangam, in the old city and fired point-blank at the two, who died of their injuries on the way to hospital.

The victims were identified as Principal Supinder Kour, 46, from Budgam’s Beerwah, and Kashmiri Pandit Deepak Chand, 38, who had migrated back to the Valley from Jammu.

A teacher at the school told The Hindu that they were sipping tea when they heard gunshots outside the Principal’s room around 11.15 a.m.. “We saw Chand falling on the ground outside the Principal’s room,” the teacher said.

Civilian Killings

A spree of killings by militants has left seven civilians dead in six days in the Valley, spreading panic among the minorities and non-local workers, at a time when Union Ministers are on a nine-week outreach programme in J&K.

Scores of teachers belonging to a minority community headed home early on Thursday. They were accompanied by Muslim colleagues. Several shops owned by members of minority communities also closed before the sunset in parts of Srinagar.

“There is a deep sense of insecurity amongst the minority in Valley at the moment. Received frantic calls, fear in the voice sent shivers down my spine,” Peoples Democratic Party’s leader Mohit Bhan, a Kashmiri Pandit, said.

Security has been heightened in areas where minorities own businesses and non-local workers reside in the Valley.

A TRF spokesman, in a statement issued online, said, “Shaheed Gazi Squad carried out the attack. These teachers had on August 15 harassed and warned parents with dire consequences if any student did not attend the August 15 function. We want to make it crystal clear that outsider domicile holders, stooges and collaborators, whatsoever their religion, won’t be spared”.

Three civilians, including famous M.L Bindroo of the Bindroo Medicate, were shot dead on Tuesday. Around 27 civilians have been killed this year so far.

‘Will nab killers soon’

Director General of Police Dilbag Singh, who visited the spot, said, “This is an attempt to defame local Muslims of Kashmir. Killing innocent civilians, including teachers, is a move to attack and damage the age-old tradition of communal harmony and brotherhood in Kashmir. The police have got some clues and leads about the killers in the previous cases. The police will nab the killers very soon.”

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, who chaired a meeting of security officials, said, “The attacks are a part of a conspiracy in the backdrop of increasing tourist influx and planned industrial investment in Kashmir. A befitting reply will be given to the attackers. A befitting reply will be given to the perpetrators. The terrorists and their patrons will not succeed in disturbing peace, progress and prosperity of J&K.”

Killings condemned

J&K political parties and religious bodies condemned the growing incidents of civilian killings.

Jagmohan Singh Raina, chairman of the All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC), a Srinagar-based Sikh body, condemned the killings. “The killings are a part of the conspiracy hatched to create a wedge between the majority and minority communities living in the Kashmir Valley. People should be vigilant about the elements who want to exploit the situation for their own ulterior political motives,” he said.

He asked the Sikh youth, who are working in different government departments, to boycott their duties and sit at their homes till their security is ensured by the government.

Kashmir’s grand mufti Nasir-ul-Islam termed the killings “unfortunate”. “No religion allows the killing of innocent civilians. No one will be allowed to harm the communal fabric of Kashmir, which is intact since past so many decades,” he said.

Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti said, “Disturbing to see the deteriorating situation in Kashmir, where a minuscule minority is the latest target. GOI [Government of India]’s claims of building a ‘Naya Kashmir’ has actually turned it into a hellhole. Its sole interest is to use Kashmir as a milch cow for its electoral interests.”

National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah described it as a shocking news. “Words of condemnation are not enough for this inhuman act of terror, but I pray for the souls of the deceased to rest in peace,” he stated.

Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone said, “It is important to understand that terrorists have no religion. Muslims have been killed too. I personally had a killing in my family. This is a lunatic fringe, which is a curse of Kashmir. May Allah rid us of this curse.”

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 4:08:17 AM |

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