Truck driver shot dead in Shopian
Barely hours after the government resumed postpaid cellular service in the Valley, unidentified militants shot dead a truck driver in southern Kashmir on Monday evening.
A police official said that at around 7 pm, some unknown militants opened fire on a truck driver in Shirmal village of the Shopian district, about 50 km south of Srinagar.
He said that the driver died instantly in the attack.
The official identified the slain driver as Sharif Khan, resident of Bharatpur, Rajasthan.
According to the official, the driver was in the area to freight apples outside the Valley.
"The militants also thrashed some locals who are believed to have tried to save the driver", added the official.
Shopian is one of the nerve centers of apple trade in Kashmir. During the harvesting season, which begins in September and lasts till November, hundreds of non-local truckers make a beeline for the area to transport the fruit. This year, however, things are entirely different. The local Mandis in the Valley wear a deserted look. Militants had plastered walls in villages with posters threatening the apple growers not to sell their produce following the revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Given the militant threats, the government had announced last month that it would procure the harvest directly from the farmers through NAFED.
" We really don't know what to do. These are troubled times for the fruit growers of the valley", said an orchard owner.