The security agencies had strong inputs three months ago about targeted killings of civilians in the Kashmir Valley, India Today has learned.
Militants have killed seven civilians in the Valley in the last five days. Four were from minority communities. Six deaths took place in Srinagar.
According to sources, the security agencies had inputs that the terrorists were targeting three groups — BJP/Apni Party and affiliates; minority Kashmiri pandits and Sikhs; and pro-government voices whom terrorists refer to as collaborators.
A top official in the security grid said, “That everyone cannot be provided security is a given. Terrorists are choosing soft targets. But eventually, it is J&K which will have to step up counter attacks to keep terrorists at bay.”
Officials said that the terrorists were targeting people based on a ‘pattern’, and the situation was suddenly looking grim.
A senior officer said, “With this, the terrorists have tried to stop the return of Kashmiri Pandits by terrorising those who have been staying in the Kashmir Valley.”
“They have targeted the idea of “Naya Kashmir” in a bid to dispel the notion of normalcy in the Valley,” he added.
According to data, at least 25 civilians were killed in Kashmir this year. Of these 25, three were non-locals, two were Kashmiri Pandits, and 18 were native Muslims.
Most attacks took place in Srinagar, which saw 10 such incidents. This is followed by Pulwama and Anantnag with four incidents each.
Minorities in panic mode
Inputs suggest that minorities are in a panic mode and some 50-60 non-migrant Kashmiri Pandit families are likely to move to Jammu from South Kashmir in the next 24 hours. Most of these families have accommodation in Jammu, sources said.
Pakistan’s role in attack on civilians?
According to sources close to the establishment, Pakistan-based terrorist groups are using hybrid terrorists to disrupt peace in Jammu and Kashmir.
These terrorists are mostly engaged in normal jobs and are used by terror groups for targeted killings using small weapons, sources said.
(With inputs from Manjeet Negi)