The killing of the lone bread-earner of a poor family from Udhampur by militants in south Kashmir’s Anantnag on Monday, sparked protests at his native village on Tuesday, with locals demanding strict action against the attackers.
The body of Deepu Kumar, 27, reached Udhampur’s remote Thial village around 8 a.m. on Tuesday for the final rites, with locals raising anti-Pakistan slogans and demanding action.
Recalling the incident, the victim’s relative said her brother left home around 8:30 p.m. on Monday. “He had gone to get water and milk. There were sounds of gunshots. He was shifted to a hospital but was declared dead,” she said.
Never unsafe before
Two motorcycle-borne militants fired at least three bullets at the victim from close range. The victim was working at a circus in an amusement park in Anantnag’s Janglat Mandi. “We were here for the past two months. We have been organising shows in Kashmir for several years now. We never felt unsafe before,” Abhi Sharma, the circus owner, said.
The couple was expecting their first baby in June this year. Living in a humble dwelling, the family said he was the sole breadwinner. “I can’t see. My father is visually impaired. He was our only earning hand. Why was he killed,” the victim’s brother asked.
Locals said the Lieutenant Governor’s administration should “go after the attackers”. “The security forces should hunt down the attackers as soon as possible,” a protesting local said.
‘Kashmir Freedom Fighter responsible’
The Kashmir Freedom Fighter, a little-known outfit, claimed responsibility for the attack and warned of similar assaults against the non-locals.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha approved an ex gratia of ₹5 lakh for the next of kin of Deepu.
Jammu and Kashmir parties also condemned the attack. “Deeply anguished by yet another attack on an innocent civilian in Anantnag. This speaks volumes about GOI’s (the Government of India) policy, which has been a monumental failure in J&K,” Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti said.
National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah said he was pained by the news of yet another targeted attack against a civilian. “The murder of Deepak, who worked with a travelling circus to earn an honest living, is an abomination and I condemn this militant attack unreservedly,” Mr. Abdullah said.
Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone termed the killing as “an incident of savagery”. “In wonderment how does the killing of a civilian help anybody. May Allah burn in hell those thugs who killed him,” Mr. Lone said.