Fruit growers and traders linked to the business are on the "specific" radar of Pakistan-based terror outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed who have been threatening them for the last one month to stay away from the trade.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police and intelligence agencies have received inputs that the terror groups, through their local militants and their over ground workers (OGWs), are attempting to create violence in several areas in south Kashmir including Sopore and threatening the fruit growers and traders.
The police in the erstwhile state have received some complaints and inputs of such attempts being made by the OGWs, said a source. A source, in the know of intelligence developments, said that the local LeT and JeM militants are being guided by their Pakistan-based handlers to target the apple growers and traders as well as those who carry out trade in plums, cherries, walnuts and other fruits or dry fruits.
Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbag Singh on Wednesday also confirmed that the terrorists are targetting fruit growers in the Valley. "The Pakistan sponsored terrorist groups like LeT and JeM have been trying to create violence in the area with whatever activity they could do to scare people," Singh said in a press briefing here.
"The militants are trying to resort violence in Sopore and other areas in south Kashmir. They have also been going around south Kashmir, threatening people and pasting posters." The DGP specifically mentioned that the "militants are also physically manhandling people and telling them not to go for fruit trading, fruit collection and all".
He said that LeT militant Asif Maqbool Bhat, who was killed on Wednesday morning in a brief shootout with the police and security forces in Sopore, was responsible for attacking a leading apple trader's family on September 8 in which girl child, Asma, had also been injured.
Bhat, along with his associates, the DGP said, had attacked the family of Haji Hamidullah Rather, a prominent fruit grower of Sopore and a resident of Dangerpora area, on September 8. "The militant fired at the family members of Rather, injuring four of them including the girl aged between four and seven years. While the girl was admitted to a hospital here, other members of the family were also evacuated from the place.
A Jammu and Kashmir administration statement said there have been movement of over 3,023 trucks laiden with fruits, dry fruits and in the region between August 10 and September 10.
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