September 2019 News
Terrorists Target Apple Orchards In South Kashmir To Disrupt Businesses15 September 2019
Shopian: Terrorists in south Kashmir have come up with a new tactic to disrupt livelihood in the region-burning apples. On September 12, terrorists burnt a huge pile of Kashmir's famous golden apple variety in an orchard in Shopian, which has been one of the volatile areas since the Valley since Article 370 was abrogated. Apple orchard owners who spoke to India Today TV say this is the latest tactic being used by terrorists to force people to refrain from selling their apples to retailers. Earlier, the terrorists had also burnt an entire government panchayat building in Kani Gam village, Shopian. The recent spate of violence carried out by terrorists has struck fear among locals, who admitted that they have been threatened to not open carry out their businesses. The owner of the apple orchard which was burnt down recently said he has faced a loss of at least Rs three to four lakh. 'Rearing a tree is a lifetime's effort. It takes 15-20 years for a tree to yield the crop. I have lost seven trees,' he said pointing towards the burnt apples. He, however, refused to approach the police or share his name fearing he could become a target. Explaining the extent of the loss, he said one apple produces at least 25 cartons and each carries up to 20 kilos of apples. Losing seven trees, according to him, would lead to a massive financial loss that he would have to cope with for years. This incident is not an isolated incident where a large number of apples have been destroyed. In another village in Shopian, 70 packed cartons ready to be sold were burnt down. Locals said terrorists have also distributed pamphlets in villages asking people not to sell apples. The distribution of pamphlets started days after the Narendra Modi-led central government scrapped Article 370. Army has increased vigilance across villages in Shopian to prevent attacks on apple orchards. They have also been carrying out search operations and patrols frequently to identify culprits. Other locals in the village share a similar opinion on the incidents of violence. The livelihood of more than 100 families, who are dependent on apple sales at this time of the year, could be affected if terrorists continue with the act. While everyone in the village is deeply concerned about terrorists targeting apple orchards, no one wants to be identified as they could end up becoming targets. 'Militants also have a gun in their hand, the army is also armed. We are crushed from both sides and cannot defend ourselves,' said a young man pleading not to reveal his identity. They even made repeated requests to not show them on TV as they fear terrorists will identify and hunt them down. A man who works as labour packing and uploading cartons on trucks has the same fear. 'This is the only time of the year when I can earn for my family. Please don't record me on camera. They will kill me,' he said.