ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Mystery of the Sopore Killings

Sopore in north Kashmir is in the grip of fear and anxiety after six people were killed in less than a month's time. Separatist and militant groups blame the government and security agencies for the killings, while security forces claim the killers are renegade militants. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's statement about using terrorists to neutralise terrorists has inevitably got linked to the situation, bringing back hoary memories of the mid-1990s, when the counter-insurgency group Ikhwan-ul-Muslimoon became a law unto itself. Ambiguous statements by militants have aggravated such fears, while the government has done nothing to allay apprehensions.

This article was earlier posted on the Web Exclusives section of EPW website.

Six mysterious murders in less than a month’s time have left the people of Sopore, a prosperous town in north Kashmir’s Baramulla District, shell-shocked. Fear and uncertainty have gripped the populace and the town wears a deserted look. Separatist groups and militant outfits say “Indian agencies” are behind these killings. They have also linked the violence to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s statement about using terrorists to neutralise terrorists.

However, police claim the killers are active members of Hizbul Mujahideen who have revolted against their Pakistan-based chief Sayeed Salahudeen and are trying to assert their writ in the area. Sopore has all along been a stronghold of Jamaat-e-Islami and Salahudeen and hardline Hurriyat faction chief, Syed Ali Geelani, originally belong to the area.

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