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Saturday, December 3, 2022

Two teachers have been shot dead by soldiers at a school in India’s Kashmir region, in the recent surge attack on Thursday.

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Three militants entered a public school in Eidgah, in region capital, Srinagar, on Thursday morning and shot dead the principal, Supinder Kour, and her colleague, Deepak Chand.

Authorities blame the killings targeted by anti-Indian forces in the region, as part of an uprising that lasted for decades with respect for India’s neighbour and his rival Pakistan.

Witnesses who spoke to the Guardian confirmed that the two teachers were killed by the attackers after Kour was selected as Sikh and Chand as Hindu groups – small groups in a predominantly Muslim region.

According to some teachers at the school, Kour was inside his office when soldiers stormed an armed area demanding that all staff members gather in the room.

“They want to know who we are,” said a teacher who asked not to be identified. “All staff members who were Muslim were asked to leave while the principal and another teacher, Deepak Chand, were asked to stay in the room.”

As they left the office, the teacher said he could hear the two begging them not to hurt them. Witnesses said Kour and Chand were evacuated from the building and shot dead near the porch of the one-story building. There were no students present at the school due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Suljeet, Kour’s 13-year-old daughter, described how happy she was that day after her thorough examination and had spoken to her mother over the phone. It was just minutes after that call that Kour was shot and killed. “Why would anyone kill him? She was a teacher,” said Suljeet.

The two teachers were the last to die in a series of public killings in the area a few days ago, all blamed on military groups. At least seven civilians have been shot dead in separate attacks in the past five days, six of them in Srinagar. Four of those killed, including Kour and Chand, belonged to small groups.

The killings have undermined promises by the Indian government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu party Baratiya Janata (BJP), that their actions in Kashmir would lead to greater security in the region, which has long been a hot topic between India and Pakistan and more than three decades of violence. 

However, many politicians have sited the doing away with article 370 as the main reason behind such attacks. They say that Muslims are scared on the prospect of a muslim cleansing operation led by the central Govt. After the abolition of article 370, an Indian domicile can buy lands in the valley. Though reports suggest negligible infiltration from outside .

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