LeT Killed Sopore Sisters: Police1 February 2011
Sopore: Two teenage sisters were shot dead by masked gunmen in Sopore in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district last evening. Police have blamed Lashkar militants for the killings while Chief Minister Omar Abdullah termed silence on murder of two girls as unfortunate. “Unidentified gunmen raided the residence of Ghulam Nabi Lone at Muslimpeer, Sopore at 8 pm last evening. At least five to six masked gunmen cordoned off the three houses including the house of Lone.The gunmen started searching the houses and during this process, one of them climbed into Lone’s house. The gunman enquired about the house owner’s girls,” said Shareefa Begum, relative of the deceased and witness to the incident. She said one of the gunmen forced his entry into the kitchen of Lone and caught Akthar (17) by hand. “Another gunman went upstairs and brought down Arifa (16), who was watching TV. The gunmen asked both the sisters to accompany them for some important talk outside the house,” Shareefa said. She said as the duo refused to cooperate, the gunmen dragged them out. “The women present in the house tried to rescue the girls”. Naza Begum, another relative of the deceased said they chased them (the gunmen) till outside and pleaded to pardon the girls, if guilty. “However, they refused and pointed their guns towards us. Without relenting, we chased them upto hundred meters from the spot and during this process I heard one of the gunman talking on phone. He was told by the caller to shot dead the girls and afterwards the gunmen fired and killed both the girls,” she claimed. The family members recovered bodies of both the girls near Rahim Sahib area at about 10 pm. The father of deceased Ghulam Nabi Dar, a labourer by profession refused to blame any group for her daughters killing. “I was offering Isha prayers in the mosque when my daughters were abducted by gunmen, some of whom were heard speaking Kashmiri and Urdu. Since they were masked, it is difficult to point a finger towards anybody. I can neither blame any government agency nor militants,” he said. Calming the innocence of his daughters, Dar said, “We were not warned by any agency for anything wrong, if any, committed by our daughters. I would like to know for what crime my daughters were killed”. The family has single, muddy room house in the congested area of old Sopore. “I could not provide education to my daughters as I could not afford the expenses on their study,” Dar said. The deceased were buried in a local graveyard on Tuesday morning, where people offered their funeral prayers. SP Sopore Altaf Ahmad Khan said according to preliminary investigations three Lashkar militants barged into the house and forcibly took the girls, aged between 16 to 18 years. “The girls were later shot dead by the militants near the Ziarat (shrine) Rahim Sahib. One of them was shot in the left eye,' he said, adding their bodies were found near their house. The police officer said two of three militants involved in the killing have been identified as Waseem Ahmad Ganie alias Sheer Yuni son of Abdul Ahad Ganie of Chankipora Sopore and Muzaffar Ahmad Naikoo alias Muz Molvi son of Mohammad Jamal of Khushal Mattoo Sopore. “Both the militants carry a cash reward on their heads,” he said. MLA Langate Er Rasheed while condemning the killing of girls, said, “ As the government blames militants for the gruesome incident, it becomes obligatory upon militant leadership to make their stand clear. If the militants have killed the women, then they should accept it openly and tell the people reasons behind it. But if they have not, then they too should unambiguously condemn it.” He said by blaming the killings on militants, the government cannot absolve itself of responsibilities. “Government is, in all respects bound to protect life and property of people, hence by blaming the militants for killings like Sopore, government can’t absolve itself of its legal and constitutional duties,” MLA said. Peoples Conference chairman Sajjad Lone has also condemned the killing of the girls. Terming the killings as gruesome, he said these incidents are unacceptable. Hurriyat Conference (M), JKLF, PDP, DP (Nationalist), Peoples Democratic Front and CPI (M) State Secretary Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami have also strongly condemned the killing of the girls. Agencies add from New Delhi: Speaking on the sidelines of the Chief Ministers' Conference on Internal Security here, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said silence on killing of girls in Sopore is unfortunate. 'I find it difficult to understand. Under these circumstances, I doubt anybody would have guts to stand up and say they did it and why they did it. I think this in itself brings out the contradictions that exist in Kashmir because if there was even the slightest of indication that these deaths have been the result of high handedness of security forces, today, the whole Valley would have erupted in flames. But because these killings were by the militants, the condemnation is muted or the condemnation does not come at all,' he said. When asked why civilians were targeted after a long gap, Omar said, 'Unfortunately civilian killings have happened from time to time. Obviously, the civilian deaths as a result of militancy were overshadowed by the civilian deaths as a result of stone pelting but we have had about 40 civilian casualties as a result of militancy last year.' Earlier Omar tweeted that the killers were 'heartless'. In an apparent dig at separatists leaders, Omar said, 'If you can't condemn the killing of these two girls, irrespective of your political beliefs and do so without qualifying it, then shame on you.'