He was targeted as a warning to apple growers not to sell their produce elsewhere in the country.
The apple industry in the Valley is staring at a crisis after a truck driver from Rajasthan was killed by militants on Monday evening in Shopian, south Kashmir.
Sharif Khan, shot while readying to load boxes of fruit on the truck, is the first non-local to be killed in Kashmir after the state’s special status was scrapped. He was targeted as a warning to apple growers not to sell their produce elsewhere in the country.
Apple growers said the killing has triggered fear among truckers, most of whom are non-locals. Some have now headed back home.
A police officer said two militants, one of them a Pakistani, attacked the truck driver at Sindhoo-Shirmal village along Pulwama-Shopian Road, around 8pm on Monday.
“The militants attacked the driver when he was readying to load fruit boxes in his truck. The truck driver died on the spot,” a spokesman said. The truck was set ablaze.
The Rs 10,000-crore apple industry is facing calls from militants, protesters and some apple growers to stop selling the fruit outside the Valley in protest against the move to scrap the special status.