Businessman among three civilians killed in Kashmir

A PROMINENT Kashmiri Pandit businessman, who ran two medical stores in Srinagar including one started by his family in 1947, was among three persons killed Tuesday in a series of attacks by suspected militants in J&K, police said.

A street food vendor in Srinagar, who hailed from Bihar, and a taxi stand association president in Bandipora were also killed in the attacks, police said.

The attacks were part of a spike in killings by suspected militants that has put the security establishment on guard after two other civilians were shot Saturday in Srinagar.

On Tuesday evening, suspected militants shot dead Makhan Lal Bindroo outside his shop Bindroo Health Zone, near Iqbal Park in Srinagar.

Bindroo, 65, owned the “popular and trusted” Bindroo Chemists, which was set up by his family in 1947 at Hari Singh High Street in Srinagar.

Officials said the family had stayed back in Srinagar even as the militancy peaked in the 1990s and most members of the Kashmiri Pandit community left the Valley. Bindroo Health Zone was opened a few years ago.

“Terrorists fired upon…Makhan Lal Bindroo near Iqbal Park Srinagar. He was shifted to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Area cordoned off and search to nab the terrorists is going on,” J-K Police tweeted.

Less than an hour after the attack, suspected militants shot a street vendor who was selling golgappa on a handcart at the Madeen Sahib area in Hawal. Police identified the victim as Virendar Paswan, a resident of Bhagalpur in Bihar.

In the third incident, suspected militants gunned down Mohammad Shafi Lone at Shahgund village in Bandipora. Lone, a resident of Naidkhai village, headed Sumo Car Stand, an association of taxi owners in the area.

J-K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said he was “deeply anguished” by the killing of Bindroo. “I strongly condemn this cowardly act. My deepest condolences to the bereaved family. Perpetrators of this heinous act will be brought to justice very soon,” he tweeted.

Former Chief Minister and NC vice president Omar Abdullah tweeted: “What terrible news. He was a kind man. I have been told, he never left during the height of militancy and remained with his shop open. I condemn this killing in the strongest possible terms and convey my heartfelt condolences to his family.”

Referring to the killing of the street vendor, he posted: “Another targeted attack in Srinagar. A poor non local handcart stall owner selling golguppas has been shot…Even the words of condemnation and condolences after these three militant attacks start to sound hollow.”

Saying that acts of violence have no place in Kashmiri society, former Chief Minister and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti condemned the killing of Bindroo “who chose to stay back in Kashmir even during peak insurgency”.