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Lashkar-Backed TRF Behind 2 Terror Attacks In Kashmir Ahead Of Monday’s Polls: Intel Sources | Exclusive


The back-to-back attacks came at a time when campaigning for the parliamentary polls in the Anantnag-Rajouri seat was going on. (PTI File)

The back-to-back attacks came at a time when campaigning for the parliamentary polls in the Anantnag-Rajouri seat was going on. (PTI File)

Top intel sources said: “Terror attacks are mainly due to two reasons — normalcy during the elections and the upcoming yatra. These attacks are a sign of desperation.”

The two terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) on Saturday night, which killed a former sarpanch in Shopian and left a tourist couple from Rajasthan injured in Anantnag, two days ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in Baramulla, were carried out by the Lashkar-e-Toiba-backed The Resistance Front (TRF), according to top intelligence sources.

ALSO READ | Ex-Sarpanch Killed, Tourist Couple Shot At By Terrorists In J&K In Two Separate Attacks

“The last three months have seen intelligence inputs on terror attacks on Kashmiri Pandits, leaders associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), tourists outside Kashmir and security forces. These two attacks were on tourists from outside the Valley and a sarpanch who was linked to the BJP,” said sources.

Elaborating on the possible reasons, sources said, “Terror attacks are mainly due to two reasons — normalcy during the elections and the upcoming yatra. Attacks on yatra and tourist are a sign of desperation which suggest that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is desperate to carry out attack strikes. Moreover, in their election speeches, PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah spoke about absolute normalcy in the Valley after the abrogation of Article 370, which may have further made the terrorists desperate.”

PAHALGAM AND HIRPORA STRIKES

The first attack took place on an open tourist camp near Pahalgam. “Terrorists fired at and injured a woman, Farha, a resident of Jaipur (in Rajasthan) and her spouse Tabrez at Yannar in Anantnag. The injured were evacuated to a hospital for treatment. The area has been cordoned off,” the Kashmir Zone Police posted on X.

In another attack, within half-an-hour, terrorists shot dead former sarpanch Aijaz Sheikh, who was associated with the BJP, in Shopian’s Hirpora around 10.30 pm, the officials said. Sheikh was rushed to a hospital where he succumbed to injuries, they said.

The back-to-back attacks came at a time when campaigning for the parliamentary polls in the Anantnag-Rajouri seat was going on. Polling in Baramulla will be held on May 20 in the fifth round of the seven-phase general elections.

POLITICAL PARTIES CONDEMN THE ATTACKS

Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, including the National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the BJP, condemned the attacks. Former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, who is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from the Anantnag-Rajouri seat, said on X, “While we condemn the attack in Pahalgam today that resulted in injuries to two tourists followed by another attack on a (former) sarpanch in Hirpora, Shopian – the timing of these attacks given that the south election was delayed without any reason is a cause of concern. Especially keeping in mind normalcy claims touted by GOI (Government of India).” Polling for the seat was scheduled to be conducted on May 7, but was deferred after few political parties in Jammu and Kashmir raised concerns over weather conditions. Polling will now be held on May 25.

NC president Farooq Abdullah and vice-president Omar Abdullah also condemned the terror attacks. Such acts of brutality remain a serious impediment to achieving long-term peace in J&K, the party’s statement said.

The BJP, in a statement, said, “We strongly condemn the killing of ex-sarpanch Aijaz Ahmad Sheikh in Hirpora, Shopian, South Kashmir, by terrorists. Aijaz Ahmad was a brave soldier of the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP firmly stands with the family of Aijaz Ahmad, who lost his life in this terror attack.”

With PTI inputs

Explore in-depth coverage of Lok Sabha Election 2024 Schedule, Voter Turnout, Upcoming Phase And Much More At News18 Website





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