After Six Killings in Three Weeks in Kashmir's Sopore, Fear Looms Large

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After Six Killings in Three Weeks in Kashmir's Sopore, Fear Looms Large

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Zahida Begum with her two daughters in Sopore

Sopore, Kashmir:  Six civilians have been shot dead by terrorists in the last three weeks in North Kashmir's Sopore, creating an atmosphere of fear and terror in the town and nearby areas. Security forces have been unable to track down the killers so far.  

People associated with mobile phone network companies were targeted by terrorists, leading to disruptions in mobile phone services in various parts of Kashmir. There have been no leads on why innocent people were killed and who exactly is behind it. 

Zahida Begum is distraught with grief, her shopkeeper husband Mehrajudin, was one of the people killed by terrorists last Sunday. Left alone with her two daughters Sehrish and Nisha, Mrs Zahida says, "Why are we alive? They should have also killed me and my daughters. Where will go now? Who will take care of us? After sometime there will be nobody except God". The family stays in Badamibagh neighbourhood of Sopore.

It's been almost a week since Mr Mehrajudin's killing, yet nobody from the state government has visited the family. A local police officer said no one would want to risk visiting Sopore at this time. "No one from government, MLA, District Collector or Superintendent of Police has visited here. We didn't see anybody, not even media visited here. We are helpless" said Gulahan Ara.

Among the many suspects behind the killings, police suspect a splinter group of the terrorist organisation hizbul mujahideen is involved, while locals and separatists are blaming government agencies.

Two former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad have blamed the central government for provoking sentiments in the state, linking the attacks to the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's controversial statement. During a media event last month, Mr Parrikar said, "We have to neutralise terrorists through terrorists only," while replying to a question.

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