A sarpanch associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party, Ghulam Rasool Dar, and his wife, Jawahira, were shot on Monday by suspected militants in Anantnag district in south Kashmir, reported ANI.
Dar, who is the Kulgam district president of the BJP’s Kisan Morcha, and his wife were taken to a hospital for treatment but they succumbed to their injuries.
The suspected militants attacked them at their house in Anantnag. The police said that the couple was given a security accommodation at a hotel in Kulgam district where they had stayed for a short period. But Dar and his wife insisted on staying at their home in Anantnag and submitted an undertaking for it, the police said, according to ANI.
They added that the couple was provided a personal security officer who was absent from duty when the incident took place. “The PSO has been placed under suspension and a case has been registered [against him],” the police said. “The area has been cordoned off and a search is going on.”
Inspector General of Police (Kashmir range) Vijay Kumar said that “two motorcycle-borne terrorists of banned LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba] outfit” were involved in the incident, reported PTI.
Leaders across the political spectrum in Jammu and Kashmir condemned the killings. Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha described the attack as an “act of cowardice” and offered his condolences to the family of the deceased.
“I unequivocally condemn the assassination of Ghulam Rasool Dar & his wife,” tweeted National Conference leader Omar Abdullah. “They join a long list of mainstream politicians killed for their political beliefs. My condolences to his family and colleagues. May Allah grant the departed place in Jannat [heaven].”
People’s Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti also offered her condolences.
BJP president of Jammu and Kashmir Ravinder Raina told PTI that Dar and his wife were active members of the party and had participated in functions to mark the second anniversary of the revocation of Article 370 on August 5.
Raina said that Pakistan and its supported “terrorists” were conspiring to turn the Kashmir Valley into a graveyard but “our police, paramilitary forces and the Army are determined to root out terrorism” and bring peace to the region.
“Our forces have launched a hunt and they will avenge the killings by eliminating those responsible for the act,” he said.
Dar is the fourth BJP leader to be targeted by militants this year, according to PTI. While two BJP councillors were killed in the Sopore area of Baramulla district in March, another one from Tral in Pulwama district was shot dead on June 2.
In August last year too, a sarpanch associated with the BJP in Kulgam was shot by suspected militants.