The attack against civilians on Sunday triggered protests in the area, with a complete shutdown observed today against the killings.
Afnan Habib | TwoCircles.net
SRINAGAR (JAMMU AND KASHMIR) — Following what appeared to be a targeted attack on a community on Sunday that left four civilians dead, a fresh explosion today claimed the life of a 4-year-old boy in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district.
“The IED was planted beneath a bag, and it exploded. Seven people have been injured, and a child has died”, Mukesh Singh, the Additional Director General of Police, Jammu, told reporters in Rajouri.
He said the event was being investigated, and the entire area had been cordoned off.
On January 1, suspected militants with automatic weapons stormed at least three houses close to Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pir Panjal Valley, killing four civilians and injuring at least seven others. The attack was the first such attack in many years in the otherwise peaceful Jammu region.
Deepak Kumar, Satish Kumar, Pritam Lal, and Shiv Pal were among the deceased civilians. Those injured included Pawan Kumar, Rohit Pandit, Saroj Bala, Sushil Kumar, Shub Sharma, and Urvashi Sharma.
The incident occurred four days after four ‘heavily armed‘ militants were gunned down by a joint team of J&K Police and security forces near Sidhra bridge at the entry point to old Jammu city along National Highway-44.
Ex-gratia of Rs. 10 lacs and a government job was announced for the relatives of victims in the tragedy on Monday by Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.
“I strongly condemn the cowardly terror attack in Rajouri. I assure the people that those behind this despicable attack will not go unpunished. My thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families,” Manoj Sinha said in a tweet.
In light of the attacks, security has been beefed up in Rajouri amid a complete shutdown in protest of the killings. Several organizations, including traders’ bodies, called for a general strike in the Rajouri district on Monday.
Expressing grave concern regarding the attacks, Dr Farooq Abdullah, National Conference President, said it was painful to see innocent people being killed.
“Terrorism still exists in J&K, and innocent people continue to be killed. The government should develop a concrete plan to safeguard people,” he said.
Dr Farooq added that such incidents result from hate spreading throughout the country.
Mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir denounced the attack.
Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah expressed his shock after learning about the specifics of the incident.
“I unequivocally condemn this heinous attack & send my condolences to the families of the deceased. I hope those injured in this attack will make a swift & complete recovery,” Abdullah said.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti also condemned the incident and slammed the BJP over the killings.
“Condemn this cowardly act & condolences to their families. Despite being under BJP rule & its bogus claims of ending militancy, violence continues unabated. Had J&K had its own elected government, the same media would have hauled them over the coals”, the People’s Democratic Party chief said.
Ravinder Raina, President of the J&K BJP, also denounced the tragedy, labelled Pakistani terrorists’ actions as “absolute cowardice,” and vowed to expel them and their followers from the Union Territory.
Afnan Habib is a freelance journalist based in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. He tweets @afnanhabib_