Srinagar, Oct 15 (AP/UNB) — Two suspected militants shot and killed a truck driver near an apple orchard in Indian-controlled Kashmir where he had picked up fruit boxes, police said Tuesday.
Apple sales are more than 20% of Kashmir's economy, and police in the region say insurgent groups are pressuring traders and truck drivers to avoid the apple trade as part of anti-India protests.
The shooting Monday came during the apple season. Top police officer Muneer Ahmed Khan said the masked gunmen hijacked the truck from outside the orchard where it has been loaded with 800 apple boxes. They killed the driver after he had driven them about a kilometer (half a mile) from the spot, he said.
Khan said the gunmen set the man's truck on fire and fled from Sindoo Shirmal, a village in southern Kashmir.
Militants have been fighting India's rule in the disputed Himalayan region since 1989. Tensions have been high and trade has suffered since India's government downgraded the region's semi-autonomy and imposed a security and communications lockdown in August.
On Sept. 6, unknown gunmen fired at a fruit trader in northern Sopore, injuring him and four of his family members.