Son of the owner of a popular restaurant in Srinagar shot at by suspected terrorists, second such attack on non-Kashmiri residents this year

Published : February 18, 2021 14:54 IST

Security personnel cordon off the area after the attack on Akash Mehra, on February 17 in Srinagar. Photo: NISSAR AHMAD

A non-Kashmiri resident in Srinagar was shot at by suspected terrorists on February 17. The victim, Aakash Mehra, is the son of Ramesh Kumar Mehra, the owner of Krishna Dhaba located in the Dalgate area in Srinagar.

The attack came on the day a 20-member foreign delegation landed in Srinagar to take stock of the development work done by the Union Territory’s administration and the efforts taken to restore normalcy in Kashmir Valley.

Aakash Mehra was rushed to the SMHS Hospital for treatment. He is reported to be stable, but doctors are monitoring his medical condition.

It is suspected that the attack could be the handiwork of The Resistance Front. Some news reports quoted police officials as saying a smaller terror module, the “Muslim Janbaz Force”, may be behind the attack.

This is the second attack on non-Kashmiris this year, with a jeweller, Satpal, being shot dead in January. Satpal has been living in Kashmir for the last five decades. The Resistance Front, a shadow outfit of the Lashkar-e-Taiba terror group, claimed responsibility for the attack.

There was an outpouring of condemnation following the attack. Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: “Deeply saddened by the attack on Krishna Dhaba at Sonawar in Srinagar. Extend my sympathies to the injured and his family. Violence is never the answer.”

Omar Abdullah, National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, said: “Very sorry to hear about the attack on the Krishna Dhaba in Srinagar. These attacks are unacceptable. I hope the injured person who is himself associated with the dhaba and is undergoing treatment at a city hospital makes a complete and speedy recovery.”

On February 17, the day of the attack, a delegation of foreign envoys began a two-day official visit to Jammu and Kashmir. The visit was organised by the Ministry of External Affairs. The delegation included a group of Ambassadors and senior diplomats, mainly from European countries. The envoys, nearly 20 in number, are from France, Italy, Spain, Finland, Bangladesh, Malawi and Ghana.

This is the third such visit conducted by India for foreign envoys and the international community to make an assessment of the ground situation after India unilaterally ended Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories.