‘Terrorists told to kill non-Muslim civilians’ | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Terrorists told to kill non-Muslim civilians’

By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Oct 19, 2021 12:42 AM IST

The administration has started moving non-Kashmiri labourers to the safety of security camps but the exercise is difficult because they have to step out for work.

Instructions to kill non-Muslims in Kashmir, including by name, are being passed on to local militants in the Valley, several security officials told HT, even as they grapple to secure the soft targets.

The Valley is currently full of non-locals, especially since it is apple-picking season, and security estimates put their number at 300,000 to 400,000.
The Valley is currently full of non-locals, especially since it is apple-picking season, and security estimates put their number at 300,000 to 400,000.

“The instructions are clear. Pakistan is directing local militants to specifically target non-Muslims,” one security official said. Another top official confirmed, saying, “Some non-Muslim names were passed on to local militants and we were able to secure them.” Neither official wished to be identified.

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Violence has spiked dramatically in the Valley over the last few weeks and at least 11 civilians have been killed in the month of October alone. Two non-local labourers from Bihar were killed in South Kashmir on Sunday and another grievously injured.

The Valley is currently full of non-locals, especially since it is apple-picking season, and security estimates put their number at 300,000 to 400,000.

To be sure, it isn’t only non-locals that are being targeted. It is also locals belonging to minority communities.

Earlier in October, ML Bindroo, a well-known Kashmiri Pandit pharmacist was gunned down, as was a Sikh teacher, leading to large-scale insecurity amongst the minority communities. According to security estimates, close to 50,000 Sikhs and Pandits reside in the Valley.

“Fears of a demographic change are spurring the targeted killings. The new ‘non-Muslim’ attacks also started after the Union Territory started a portal for Pandits in mid-August, to help then reclaim the property they had left behind. The Centre is perceived as being anti-Muslim,” said another official, who did not want to be identified.

The administration has started moving non-Kashmiri labourers to the safety of security camps but the exercise is difficult because they have to step out for work.

In a change in strategy, local youth joining the ranks of militants are now not announcing their arrival to the path of violence, so as to not garner attention. The recruitment of locals by terror outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad has not ebbed. According to home ministry officials, at least 87 locals joined the ranks of militants by August-end this year. The figure for 2020, for the same period, was 103.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police has detained and arrested several hundred over-ground workers (OGWs), or those who provide logistical support to the terrorists and is hunting down the militants behind the recent spate of attacks. But as one security official, quoted above, said, “The situation is challenging because it is difficult to secure lakhs of non-locals who come in search of a livelihood.”

Muslim civilians too have been killed but according to officials, it is only those classified as “informers” and “BJP sympathizers” are being attacked.

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