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Kashmir Militants Shoot at, Critically Hurt Delhi Driver

Dilranjit Singh was accompanying a couple from Germany who were staying at a hotel in Hirpora village of Shopian.
Shopian on Google Maps.

New Delhi: A driver from Delhi, who was accompanying a German couple on a visit to Kashmir, was shot at and critically injured by unidentified militants in Shopian district on Monday evening (April 8).

The targeted attack is the second such incident this year and it will raise concerns about the security situation in Kashmir which will go to polls on May 7 when voters in Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary constituency will cast their ballot followed by Srinagar-Budgam on May 13 and Baramulla on May 20.

Officials said that the attack was carried out at around 8:30 pm when the victim identified as Dilranjit Singh, a resident of Delhi, was shot at a hotel in Bohrihalan locality after which the attackers managed to escape from the area.

The number of the attackers was not immediately known.

According to sources, Singh was accompanying a couple from Germany who were staying at a hotel at Bohrihalan locality in Hirpora village of Shopian for the last two days. A guide was also part of the group, sources said.

It was not immediately known whether the tourists were also present at the spot when the attackers opened fire on Singh. However, officials said that both the tourists are safe and they have been shifted to a secure accommodation.

In the meantime, the victim, who was bleeding profusely, was rushed to Shopian district hospital, “He had suffered bullet injuries in abdomen and his condition was serious,” said a doctor at the hospital, who didn’t want to be named.

The doctor said that the victim was given first aid and later referred to a hospital in Srinagar where his condition is believed to be critical.

Tense Hirpora

The attack triggered a wave of anguish and fear in Hirpora and adjoining areas with shopkeepers downing their shutters while commuters and pedestrians vanished from the main market which is normally bustling with people due to the ongoing month of Ramzan.

A video shot after the attack showed an ambulance driving out of the district hospital while security forces could be seen milling around their stationary vehicles with automatic rifles in their hands outside the hospital.

Following the attack, witnesses said that a team of police and army personnel arrived and carried out searches in Bohrihalan and adjoining areas. However, no arrests were made in the case at the time when this report was filed.

Bohrihalan falls in Hirpora, the last village, and one of the poorest, in Kashmir Valley on the historic Mughal Road before it crisscrosses into Poonch district of Jammu region through Pir Ki Gali, a famed tourist spot which has seen increasing tourist footfall in recent years.

Hopes dashed

A local from Hirpora, who spoke with The Wire on the condition of anonymity, said that the villagers, who are mostly poor farmers, had benefited from the increase in tourism activities over the last few years.

“It was after many years that foreign tourists had come to Hirpora. This incident has dashed all our hopes,” he said.

Hirpora is also home of an important wildlife sanctuary which is the habitat of the critically endangered Pir Panjal markhor. Besides, Himalayan brown and black bears, musk deers, Tibetan wolves and Himalayan palm civet are also found there.

The attack in Hirpora is the second such incident this year in Kashmir after a shootout in February in which Amritpal Singh, a young Sikh shopkeeper from Punjab, was shot dead while his friend, Rohit, suffered injuries in a targeted attack in Srinagar’s Shaheed Gunj locality.

Last October, a J&K police inspector and a migrant worker who was employed at a brick-kiln, were shot in back to back attacks in Srinagar and Pulwama districts. While the migrant worker died instantly, the police inspector succumbed to injuries at a hospital a month later.

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