SRINAGAR: Terrorists of a little-known outfit shot at and critically injured the 22-year-old scion of Srinagar‘s landmark Krishna Vaishno Dhaba on Wednesday, timing the attack with a 24-member European Union delegation’s two-day visit to the Valley. In a statement later, the Muslim Janbaz Force, which the South Asia Terrorism Portal lists as a Pakistani outfit, said the attack was in retaliation to “outsiders” being allowed to settle in J&K under the new domicile rules.
Victim Aakash Mehra was at the popular Dalgate eatery owned by his father Ramesh Kumar Mehra, whose roots are in Jammu’s Janipora, when the terrorists singled him out and shot him in the chest around 7.15pm, J&K Police said. Medical superintendent Dr Nazir Choudhary of SMHS Hospital told TOI that Aakash underwent surgery and his condition remains critical.
Krishna Vaishno Dhaba was established in 1993 and went on to become one of the favourite vegetarian restaurants of both tourists and residents. Although its owner is a permanent resident of the Valley, the Muslim Janbaz Force claimed Wednesday’s attack was just the beginning of its campaign against those who had newly acquired domicile certificates. “We will reward those who successfully carried out the assigned task. Brace for more attacks,” the outfit said in a statement in Urdu.
The fledgling TRF, another Pakistan-backed terror group with moorings in Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen, had been among the first to threaten and mount attacks on non-Muslim beneficiaries of the domicile law. The outfit said allowing “outsiders” to settle was part of an “RSS-BJP plot to change the demography of Kashmir“.