Salesman killed in Srinagar ‘mistaken as Pandit businessman’

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Within 24 hours after a policeman was killed in the Batamaloo area of Srinagar, a civilian working as a salesman at a shop owned by a Kashmiri Pandit was killed by suspected militants nearly six kilometers away in Bohri Kadal area of the capital city Srinagar when he boarded a private vehicle.

The deceased has been identified as Mohammad Ibrahim Khan, 45, a resident of Eidgah area of Srinagar.

Fayaz Ahmad, brother of Mohammad Ibrahim Khan told The Kashmir Walla that at around 7pm on Monday he [Khan] stepped into the SUV car of Dr. Sandeep Mawa, who is the owner of the shop where Khan was working for the last 13 years as a salesman. “The moment he stepped into the vehicle he was shot by the gunmen,” said his brother.

Mawa is a Kashmiri Pandit, owner of the dry fruit business in the Bohri Kadal area of Srinagar, where more than half a dozen people work as salesmen.

Family members suspect that attackers may have mistaken Khan as Mawa, as he [Mawa] was threatened earlier through a letter and would rarely come to the shop.

“A salesman was locking the shop when [Khan] stepped in the SUV car of Dr Sandeep Mawa. They may have mistaken him as Dr Sandeep Mawa and attacked him as he was probably there at the shop some 3-4 hours ago,” said Ahmad.

Mawa confirmed to The Kashmir Walla that he was at the shop till 3pm that day and left his SUV there.

“I immediately drove home in another car after the police told me that there are inputs of my killing,” said Mawa.

“Though I had received no threat, the police had inputs that I might be attacked and I have been under security since then,” he added. “I was put under security before M L Bindroo was killed.”

Bindroo, a Kashmiri Pandit owner of prominent Bindroo Medicate was killed last month by suspected militants.

A police officer confirmed to The Kashmir Walla that Mawa has been under security protection but did not divulge any details regarding the threat to him by any militant outfit.

Khan, alone bread earner is survived by wife, a son (19) and a daughter (17) studying in class 12 and 10th respectively. “His son had to appear in the class 12 examination today, however, he could not as his father’s last rites were ongoing at home,” said Ahmad.

Khan was buried in an ancestral graveyard in the Eidgah area on the morning of Tuesday. “As he [Khan] was taken to SMHS (Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital) Dr Sandeep Mawa had come there but some officer from police took him away in a Gypsy [a police vehicle] immediately,” said Ahmad.

Muslim Janbaz force, a militant outfit, has claimed responsibility for the attack. The authenticity of the letter wherein they claim responsibility could not be independently verified by The Kashmir Walla. As per reports, the outfit has mistakenly killed Khan as an attack was carried out to kill Mawa and his father Roshan Lal Mawa.

Earlier, in February this year, the outfit claimed the responsibility of killing the son of the owner of Krishna Dhaba restaurant in Dalgate, Srinagar.

Following the death of two non-local laborers in the Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir on 17 October 2021 Kashmir region witnessed an uneasy calm till a policeman was killed in Srinagar 21 days later on Sunday evening in Batamaloo.

In the past one and half months, the spurt of killings in the Kashmir region by suspected militants has created havoc as 14 civilians were killed in the region. In 2021 nearly 32 civilians have been killed in the region to date.

Amid the surge in civilian killings in the region, police in the month of October intensified the crackdown on civilians in Kashmir. As many as 900 civilians were detained to get a breakthrough in the civilian killings.

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