Spike in militancy: Panic grips apple farmers as militant target truckers, security forces in Kashmir

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Wahid Bhat | Srinagar

Days after the lockdown was lifted and mobile services were restored in Jammu and Kashmir, there has been a surge in militant attacks targeting civilians and security personnel. Six jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were injured when militants lobbed grenades in Srinagar’s Karan Nagar area. the attack occurred while they were inspecting vehicles at a checkpoint.

The attack comes over 60 days after the government scrapped the special status provided to J&K under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. Speaking to groundreport.in official said that militants lobbed a grenade on CRPF’s Naka party outside Shri MaharajaHari Singh Hospital.

Spike in Militant operations

While the government claims that the situation in the state is under control, there has been a spike in militancy in the last few weeks. Militants have been targetting civilians including truck drivers in various parts of Kashmir in a bid to create fear among them and disrupt trade.

October 16 : A labourer from Chattisgarh was killed by militants in Pulwama. Sethi Kumar Sagar, a resident of Besoli, Chhattisgarh, worked at a brick kiln. He was walking with another civilian when two terrorists shot him dead, Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh said. “We have formed teams and have fanned out in the area to catch the killers,” he added.

October 14: A truck driver hailing from Rajasthan was killed by militants. The attack has created a panic among transporters from outside the state. With the apple season picking up the attack could jeopardise trade in the state which is already facing a strong economic crisis.

October 12: Seven people were injured in Kashmir’s Srinagar after militants carried out a grenade attack in a crowded market of the capital city.

A report released by the Ministry of Home Affairs claimed that 328 attempts were made to infiltrate Pakistan-based terrorists in J&K in 2018, 143 of which were successful. The report added that 257 terrorists and 91 security personnel were killed in the state last year, the highest number of casualties in the valley over the last five years.

Killing of truckers attack on People’s livelihood’

Terming the attack on truckers an attack on the economy and livelihood of people, DGP Singh said “Damaging a tower is an attempt to damage the necessary infrastructure linked to water and electricity supplies that benefit the people.” He further added that steps are being taken to foil any attempt by the militants.

The DGP, however, said that it is not possible to provide security cover in remote areas though he asserted that forces have been deployed in many areas in South Kashmir to prevent such attacks.
The DGP said this is a direct attack on the earnings of the people of the Valley who are condemning such acts. “This is an attack on the economy and the livelihood of the people. It is being done to disrupt the daily lives of the people,” he added.

Panic and fear among apple farmers

Apple is not only a major horticulture produce of Kashmir but also the backbone of the rural economy across the Valley. It is the highest employment generator in the state. Kashmir produces about 20 lakh metric tons of apples annually and contributes 10 per cent to the state’s economy.

In the last few years, the horticulture area under apple crop has increased from 81,116hectares in 2001 to 146,016 hectares in 2018 in Kashmir and production has also inclined from 894,019 metric tons to 18,60,663 metric tons.