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Jammu & Kashmir

J&K moves migrants to ‘safe houses’ Govt Move After 3 Killed By Terrorists In Valley In 2 Days

October 18, 2019 05:33 AM

COURTESY TIMES OF INDIA OCT 18
Saleem Pandit & Bharti Jain TNN

Shopian/New Delhi:

Concerned at the killing of three non-Kashmiris by terrorists since Monday, the J&K administration on Thursday started herding the floating population of migrant labourers, truckers and fruit traders visiting south Kashmir into “safe houses” in the district headquarter towns of Shopian and Pulwama.


Also taking measures to enhance security of ‘outsiders’ linked to apple trade, the district administration in Shopian, in consultation with fruit growers, traders and transporters, has decided that the big trucks will ply only on the main roads and not venture into the interior areas. “The fruit growers have agreed to have the apples transported in smaller vehicles from the orchards to identified pick up points on the main road, where they will be loaded on the trucks. J&K police has put in additional security measures at the pick up points,” J&K DGP Dilbag Singh told TOI on Thursday.

Explaining why outsiders were being targeted, Singh, who was in Shopian on Thursday for a security review, said terrorists were specifically hitting people linked to apple trade. “In Shopian, the apples ripen later and hence are being transported only now. Shopian also happens to be a hub of terrorists. Hence the rising attacks on transporters and traders from outside Kashmir”.

Singh added that despite the recent killings of those linked to apple trade, the highest ever transportation of the fruit — not only in this season but in the history of fruit trade here was reported on Thursday.

Shopian deputy commissioner Yasin Chowdhry said apple traders and truckers waiting for their shipments to be loaded had been asked to assemble at the town’s new wholesale fruit market and its adjoining areas, where the administration would provide them secure lodging. “We are in the process of bringing them in,” he told TOI. Trucks have been barred from going directly into the orchards because terrorists might be lying in wait there.

An apple trader from Punjab was shot dead in Shopian on Tuesday, hours after a brick kiln worker from Chhattisgarh was killed by terrorists in Pulwama. On Monday, a trucker from Rajasthan fell to terrorist bullets at Shirmal village. The three attacks prompted many truckers to flee the Valley overnight without the fruit shipments they had come to collect.

Official sources said the exodus was halted on Thursday with a promise of safety, although there was fear over unconfirmed reports that terrorists were out to target non-Muslims from outside the Valley.

To counter reports that guntoting rebels were still moving about freely, security forces combed several neighbourhoods of the town and put up posters of terrorists Raheel Magray and Syed Naveed Mushtaq, who are wanted for the killing of Punjab fruit trader Charanjeet Singh.

The Shopian DC claimed that the terrorist strategy of striking at the heart of south Kashmir’s fruit business hadn’t worked beyond causing a few jitters. He said 10,000 trucks loaded with apples had safely made their way out of the Valley over the past two days.

At least 2,500 more fruit-laden trucks were, however, forced to make an unscheduled halt at Qazigund on Thursday because of a long Army convoy making its way into the Valley.


A Kashmiri farmer inside his orchard in Wuyan near Srinagar. Now trucks transporting apples have been barred from going directly into the orchards as terrorists might be lying in wait there

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