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Violence Strikes Innocence

Circus worker Falls Victim to Terrorists in Anantnag

By Ajaz Rashid

In a tragic incident that unfolded on Monday evening, a non-Muslim worker fell victim to a heinous act of violence perpetrated by terrorists belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba, according to local authorities in the Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir. The worker, identified as Deepu hailing from the Udhampur district in Jammu, was an employee of a circus that had set up camp in the secure confines of the Janglaat Mandi area. Violence Strikes Innocence.

The circus had taken precautionary measures to ensure the safety of its staff, deploying its own security personnel. However, it was during a routine visit to a nearby market to purchase milk that tragedy struck. At approximately 8:30 PM, two assailants on a motorcycle approached Deepu and, without warning, unleashed a hail of bullets upon him from close range. Three shots rang out, leaving the innocent worker gravely wounded.

Swiftly responding to the distressing situation, local authorities rushed Deepu to a nearby hospital in a desperate bid to save his life. However, the efforts of medical professionals proved futile as they declared him brought dead upon arrival, leaving a somber atmosphere of sorrow and disbelief in their wake.

The Assistant Director General of Police (ADGP), Vijay Kumar, took charge of the situation, personally overseeing the developments. Recognizing the gravity of the incident, he instructed the district police to intensify their search operations and spare no effort in apprehending the perpetrators responsible for this vile act of violence.

Claiming responsibility for the brutal killing was a relatively unknown group called Kashmir Freedom Fighter, suspected to be an offshoot of the banned Pakistan-based organization, Lashkar-e-Taiba. The police force shared this information, highlighting the significance of the incident and the ongoing investigation, through their official Twitter account.

Law enforcement wasted no time in initiating a thorough investigation, registering a case to bring those responsible to justice. The search for the killers was now in full swing, with authorities leaving no stone unturned in their pursuit of truth and retribution. As the district remained in shock and mourning, the incident served as a chilling reminder of the persistent threat posed by extremist elements within the region.

The tragic death of Deepu not only sent shockwaves through the community but also served as a somber reflection of the precarious security situation prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir. The incident stands as a stark testament to the relentless vigilance and determination required to combat the forces of terror and restore a sense of safety and peace to the region.

Police Version

According to the police sources, the victim, identified as Deepu, hailed from the Udhampur district in Jammu. The attack, which claimed his life, prompted an immediate and extensive response from the police force, as they launched a massive search operation in a determined effort to apprehend the perpetrators responsible for this heinous act of violence.

Providing further details of the incident, the police took to social media to share their official statement. They confirmed that the terrorists had targeted an innocent civilian named Deepu, who was a resident of Udhampur. Deepu, who was employed at a private circus mela located near the Janglaat Mandi in Anantnag, had fallen victim to the attackers’ gunfire. Following the assault, he was swiftly rushed to the hospital in the hopes of saving his life. Tragically, despite the best efforts of the medical staff, Deepu succumbed to his injuries, marking a devastating loss for his family and the community at large. The police confirmed that a case had been registered in connection with the incident and that an active investigation was currently underway.

The timing of this brutal attack is particularly unsettling, as it occurred just one week after the region played host to a high-profile meeting of the G20 nations. The gathering had been subject to intensive security arrangements, making this incident all the more concerning. The killing of Deepu has sparked strong condemnation from regional political leaders, some of whom have directed their criticism towards the central government, holding it accountable for failing to adequately secure Jammu and Kashmir, thus leaving innocent lives vulnerable to such acts of violence.

Deepu’s Background

Deepu Kumar (27) was expecting his first child in June but his life was cut short in a terror attack, leaving his poor family without its sole breadwinner. Deepu, who worked at a circus in the Janglat Mandi area of the district, fell victim to the ruthless violence of Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorists.

The heart-wrenching news of Deepu’s demise reverberated through the remote Thial village in Udhampur district, where his body was solemnly transported. In a display of compassion, locals came forward to assist the Below Poverty Line-family in performing his last rites. “Kumar was the only earning hand in the family comprising his ailing father, Mashu Ram, blind brother Raju, his wife, and their two minor children,” shared Shankar Dass.

The family had relocated to the secluded village over a decade ago from Kathua district. Unfortunately, Kumar’s mother had passed away some time ago, and his elder brother Raju had lost his eyesight approximately four years ago, while his father suffered from hearing impairment.

Raju spoke with a heavy heart about his brother, saying, “Over the past six years, he was in Kashmir and moving from place to place with his circus. We talked to him just before he was killed. He had transferred some money to meet the family’s medical expenses.” The family, residing in a modest single-storey mud-house on a hill slope, possessed only three goats as their sole possessions. They now demanded justice for Kumar’s untimely and senseless murder.

Abhi Sharma, the owner of the circus where Deepu worked, shared their plans to relocate to another destination within a day or two, just before the tragic incident unfolded. “He married Gudya about two years ago, and the couple was expecting their first child around June 15,” Sharma revealed, as he accompanied the body in an ambulance. He expressed their shock at encountering such a harrowing situation, despite having frequently organized shows in the Valley for the past few years.

Sharma emphasized, “The incident happened outside our camping site, which was well protected. We have our own private security,” as he called for adequate compensation for the grieving family and a job for Kumar’s wife in light of their devastating loss.

Recent Militant Attacks

The recent assault in Anantnag adds to the distressing list of attacks against both civilians and security forces that have plagued the region since the beginning of this year. Tragically, these incidents have resulted in the loss of numerous lives, with the death toll currently standing at nine individuals, including two minors who tragically lost their lives in the Rajouri district on January 2. Another incident took place on February 26, when suspected terrorists targeted and killed a civilian named Sanjay Sharma, who belonged to the minority Hindu community, near his residence in the Litter area of Pulwama.

Violence Strikes Innocence

Official data reveals a deeply alarming trend, indicating that terrorists have orchestrated a staggering 29 targeted attacks in Kashmir throughout 2022, specifically targeting a range of victims. These victims include panchayat members, policemen, non-local laborers, and individuals from minority communities.

Government Response

 According to a press communique from Raj Bhawan, the Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, has demonstrated his compassionate response to the tragic loss of Deepu, who fell victim to the malevolent actions of militants in Anantnag on the fateful day of May 29, 2023.

Displaying his concern for the bereaved family, the Lieutenant Governor has taken the commendable step of approving ex-gratia amounting to a substantial sum of Rs. 5 lakhs. This financial aid is intended to provide support to the grieving next of kin, offering a small measure of solace during these trying times of immense sorrow and loss.


•           Union Minister Jitendra Singh, who represents Udhampur in the Lok Sabha, condemned the terror attack and sought strict security measures to prevent such targeted killings in the Valley.

“While on a visit to Chennai, I was extremely shocked to learn about the brutal killing of young Deepu who hailed from Majalta, district Udhampur and was earning meagre livelihood in Anantnag. BJP karyakartas have already reached the house of the bereaved family to provide all possible help.

“While strongly condemning the killing of this youth from a poor family, it is strongly urged that strict security measures be enforced to prevent such target killings and also to act as deterrent against terror activities,” the minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office wrote on Twitter.

•           Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha has also condemned the attack and said the government and the entire nation is standing shoulder to shoulder with the family.

“Our security forces remain committed in their resolve to thwart the designs of terrorists and all efforts will be made to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said.

•           National Conference (NC) Vice President, Omar Abdullah said that he was pained by yet another targeted killing in JK.

Taking to his Twitter handle, Omar wrote, “Pained by the news of yet another targeted attack against a civilian in Anantnag area of South Kashmir. The murder of Deepak who worked with a traveling circus to earn an honest living is an abomination & I condemn this militant attack unreservedly. May Deepak’s soul rest in peace,” he said.

•           Calling the civilian’s killing a curse against humanity, Chairman Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “Strongly condemn the heinous act of killing Deepu of Udhampur by terrorists in Anantnag. Terrorism is a menace that needs to be fought by us collectively. It is a curse against humanity,” Azad wrote on his twitter handle.

•           Peoples Conference (PC) Chairman Sajad Gani Lone in a tweet condemned the killing of the circus worker.

“The killing of Deepu by terrorists in Anantnag is yet another incident of savagery. In wonderment how does the killing of a civilian help anybody. Deepu was here in search of livelihood for himself and his family. And May Allah burn in hell those thugs who killed him,” Sajad said.

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