Three Bharatiya Janata Party members in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kulgam district were killed during a suspected militant attack on Thursday night. The incident occurred at the YK Pora village area around 8.20 pm, the police said in a statement.

The police have filed a case under relevant sections of law and an investigation is underway, according to ANI.

“Preliminary investigation revealed that terrorists fired upon three BJP workers identified as Fida Hussain Yatoo son of Ghulam Ahmad Yatoo resident of YK Pora (BJP District Youth General secretary), Umer Rashid Beigh son of Abdul Rasheed Beigh resident of Sophat Devsar (BJP worker) and Umer Ramzan Hajam son of Mohd Ramzan resident of YK Pora (BJP worker) at Eidgah YK Pora due to which they got injured,” the police statement said. “They were shifted to nearby hospital for treatment where they were declared as brought dead.”

The police have registered a case under relevant sections of the law, and an inquiry is under way as “officers continue to work to establish the full circumstances of this terror crime”, the statement added. A search operation has been initiated after cordining off the area.

Spokesperson of the BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir unit, Altaf Thakur, called the killings “highly barbaric”. “Thakur said that even militants don’t spare the unarmed people on the auspicious occasion of Eid-e- Meelad un Nabi,” the party said in a statement. “Thakur urged the police to track down the killers and punish them sternly.”

Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti also condemned the incident. “Saddened to hear about the killing of three BJP workers in Kulgam,” she tweeted. “Condolences to their families. At the end of the day, its people of Jammu and Kashmir who pay with their lives because of Government of India’s ill thought out policies.”