Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police Dilbag Singh on Thursday asked transporters not to go into interior areas of South Kashmir after the killings of three civilians this week, PTI reported. In three separate attacks this week, a truck driver from Rajasthan, a labourer from Chhattisgarh, and an apple trader from Punjab were killed in Shopian and Pulwama districts of the state.

Singh said that traders in Shopian had been advised to use smaller vehicles for apple transportation from interiors of the district. They were also asked to bring the produce to six pick-up points that had been “secured and identified” on the main roads.

“We have increased security presence at these six points and urged transporters not to take trucks from outside (the state) into the interiors,” the police chief said.

Singh said militants had resorted to sending threatening letters, assaults, and intimidation before the apple season, but traders had links in other parts of the country and business was carried out irrespective of threats. Therefore, the police chief said, the militants were using other techniques.

The police chief said they have identified Pakistan-sponsored militants who were associated with the killings of the three civilians. “Pakistan-sponsored terrorists are involved in the killing of the three civilians,” said Singh. “Such acts are very barbaric and inhumane. We have also picked up at least 12 people from the OGW network [overground workers of militant outfits] in connection with these killings.”

Militants behind the killings in Shopian were identified as Salman Afghani (affiliated to Lashkar-e-Taiba), Rahil Magray and Naveed Babu, both affiliated to Hizbul Mujahideen, The Indian Express reported. The police chief said there was fear among locals, some of whom recently managed to rescue the truck’s conductor in Monday’s episode, but the driver could not be saved.

The police chief offered his condolences to the victims’ families, and said traders from other parts of the country come to the Valley to help by purchasing local produce. He added that local residents of the state had condemned such “barbaric acts” and were cooperating with the police. Singh said the overall situation was improving, but alleged that Pakistan was aiding infiltration of terrorists to create chaos in the Valley.

The police chief toured South Kashmir on Thursday along with Jammu and Kashmir Police Inspector General SP Pani and other senior officials. They also held discussions on counter insurgency measures.

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