By Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR – Suspected militants shot and killed two teachers in a government school in Indian Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar on Thursday, the latest in a spate of targeted killings in the heavily militarised Himalayan region.
Gunmen stormed into the Government Boys Higher Secondary School in Srinagar’s Eidgah area and shot two teachers at close range, a government official said.
The victims were members of the region’s minority Sikh and Hindu communities, the official and a fellow teacher at the school said. Both declined to be named.
Armed militants have waged a bloody insurgency against New Delhi since the 1990s in Jammu and Kashmir, which was India’s only Muslim-majority state until Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government split it into two federally-administered territories in August 2019.
The region is claimed in full by both India and Pakistan, but each country only controls parts of it.
“The pistol-wielding men came into the school this morning and asked for the identity cards of the teachers and later fired at two teachers, one each from the minority Sikh and Hindu community,” the teacher said.
On Tuesday, suspected militants killed a respected Kashmiri Hindu pharmacist and a non-Kashmiri street vendor in Srinagar, and shot dead another civilian in the northern district of Bandipora.
“Killing innocent civilians, including teachers, is a move to attack and damage the age-old tradition of communal harmony and brotherhood in Kashmir,” Kashmir’s police chief, Dilbag Singh, told reporters.
In the last week, seven civilians have been killed in Kashmir, three of them from the Hindu and Sikh communities. In all, 25 civilians, including political workers, have been killed in targeted assassinations this year, according to police records.
Singh said recent killings in Srinagar had been carried out by The Resistance Front ((TRF), a militant group that has claimed some of the previous assassinations in the Kashmir valley.
He described TRF as a front for Pakistan-based militant organizations like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen.
Pakistan has said it only provides moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people.