October 2019 News

Six Shot As EU Team Arrives In Valley

29 October 2019
The Tribune

Srinagar: Hours after European Union delegation landed in Kashmir n Tuesday, suspected militants struck in south Kashmir, killing six non-local labourers. The police said that militants barged into a house at Katrusu Kulgam, 6 km from Anantnag, where a group of non-locals had rented a room, and opened indiscriminate fire at the inmates. The police received a call from some villagers at around 8.30 pm, informing them about the shooting. The six killed were identified as Qamardin Sheikh, Mohammad Rafiq, Mursaleen Sheikh, Rafiq Sheikh, Nizam-ud-din Sheikh and Zahoor-ud-din, all residents of Sagardighi in West Bengal's Murshidabad. Soon after the incident, joint teams of security forces launched a massive combing operation to trace the militants, an official said. The visit of the EU delegation was marred by a shutdown and widespread clashes. Four persons were reportedly injured. Even before the EU delegation landed in Srinagar amid massive security, clashes and stone-pelting had erupted in 10 areas in the city. As the day progressed, the clashes spread to other parts. Nearly 50 incidents of stone-pelting were reported from across the Valley. The 28-member first international delegation to arrive in the Valley since the scrapping of Article 370, got a first-hand brief on the ground situation from the Army and state administration. The delegates were briefed on the 'security situation, terror threats and infiltration', sources said. Some delegation members reportedly opted out of the tour, demanding 'free access' to the people. A visiting EU member from Spain said they were 'conscious' that they were being 'kept away' from the people. After a briefing at the Srinagar based 15-Corps headquarters, the MPs in the afternoon met over 12 delegations comprising political and non-political organisations, barring Kashmir-based mainstream political parties whose leaders continue to be under detention. No prominent face from Kashmir's civil society and trade groups interacted with the delegation. The interactions took place at Hotel Lalit Grand Palace, close to the four designated sub-jails where former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti are lodged. Not all of 80 people, who were listed for the interaction, turned up. The EU members went for a Shikara ride in the Dal Lake in the evening. 'We are looking for facts, but have not yet found enough to come to a conclusion', Spanish member Hermann Tertsch said. 'We are trying to get some views on what is happening here', he said.