Sikh shopkeeper shot dead in Srinagar, first targeted killing of 2024 | India News

SRINAGAR: Suspected terrorists of The Resistance Force (TRF) fatally shot a 31-year-old Sikh shopkeeper, Amritpal Singh from Punjab, at point-blank range and wounded his friend in Srinagar city around 7pm Wednesday, police confirmed, marking the first targeted killing in 2024. This also marks the first attack on non-Kashmiris in J&K this year.
Security sources said Amritpal and his friend Rohit were on the way to their rented accommodation in the densely populated Shaheed Gunj locality of Srinagar after a holiday in their hometown Amritsar when terrorists of TRF, a covert branch of Pakistan-backed LeT, attacked them with an AK-47 assault rifle.
Amritpal, a dry fruit seller at Habba Kadal in the old city area, died instantly, while his 25-year-old friend Rohit suffered grievous wounds and was evacuated for medical attention, police reported. Rohit suffered bullet wounds in the abdomen and is currently undergoing treatment at SMHS hospital in Srinagar.
Sources highlighted that this attack marks the first instance in many years where an AK-47 was used instead of the small firearms preferred by militants for their operations in populated neighbourhoods due to their ease of concealment.
A manhunt has been launched to capture the attackers, with officials cordoning off the entire area as part of the ongoing investigation.
Wednesday’s fatal attack has raised concerns about the resurgence of targeted killings of non-native people in Kashmir valley after a relatively quiet year in 2023. Throughout last year, militants primarily targeted off-duty police officers, with an exception on October 30 when a migrant labourer from UP was shot dead in south Kashmir’s Pulwama.
In 2022, a series of targeted attacks resulted in the deaths of at least 10 labourers and four Kashmiri Pandits in the Union territory. Terrorists tend to target “soft targets” such as migrant workers, who comprise the seasonal workforce engaged in labour-intensive tasks on farms and construction sites.
In October 2021, terrorists shot dead Supinder Kour, a Sikh principal of a school in downtown Srinagar, and Deepak Chand, a Kashmiri Pandit teacher at the same institution.
National Conference leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah condemned Wednesday’s attack on the two non-native men. “Violence should have no place in our society, and such acts of barbarity only serve to hinder the progress & peace we strive for,” an NC tweet emphasised.

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