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regular-article-logo Thursday, 13 June 2024

Kashmir call to probe twin strikes, leaders question attack 'timing' after poll delay

Suspected militants killed BJP leader Aijaz Ahmad Sheikh and injured two Rajasthani tourists, Farha and Tabreez, in twin attacks in south Kashmir on Saturday night

Muzaffar Raina Srinagar Published 20.05.24, 06:09 AM
Farooq Abdullah

Farooq Abdullah File picture

Politicians in the Valley on Sunday appeared to contradict the government claim that militants were responsible for the Saturday night killing of a BJP leader and injury to two tourists in south Kashmir, with former chief minister Farooq Abdullah calling for an international probe if the Centre fails to conduct one.

Suspected militants killed BJP leader Aijaz Ahmad Sheikh and injured two Rajasthani tourists, Farha and Tabreez, in twin attacks in south Kashmir on Saturday night.

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The attacks, which came amid election campaigning for the Anantnag parliamentary polls, raised fresh questions over the Centre’s claims of restoring normality in the Valley. Police blamed militants for the attacks.

Incidentally, the BJP leader was killed days after he praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “ending militancy” in Kashmir.

“It should be investigated who killed him. The investigation should be fast. The attack in Pahalgam (on tourists) should also be investigated. How did it happen and why? And who is responsible for it? And if they won’t, we should invite an international committee to investigate (and find out) who did it,” Farooq told reporters in Rajouri.

“They say in Delhi, (Article) 370 is responsible for terrorism. How many years have passed since Article 370 was removed? Has terrorism ended? Tell those who are ruling Delhi. Who has died? An innocent BJP sarpanch. Did he have no right to live? This is a free country and any party can propagate their ideology,” he added.

Farooq said peace would elude Jammu and Kashmir unless militancy ends, asking Pakistan to “stop terrorism”. “After terror activities are stopped, both nations can sit together and resolve their issues,” he said.

Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said that “the timing of the attacks, given that the south (Kashmir) election was delayed without any reason, is a cause of concern”.

“Especially keeping in mind the normalcy claims touted by GOI (government of India),” she said.

The Election Commission of India deferred the elections to the Anantnag-Rajouri seat from May 7 to May 25 after the BJP and a few parties close to it requested the poll body.

Mehboob’s daughter Iltija Mufti, who is also her media adviser, bluntly said that people should understand the “chronology”.

“You will understand. You saw the polling percentage in Srinagar (38 per cent) was quite high. Seeing that, the central government is frightened. They want to instil terror in the hearts of people of Anantnag,” she told reporters.

“Otherwise, you explain that on the one hand, they say there is normalcy. They have ended militancy. Suddenly after delay (in elections), why are these incidents happening?” she asked.

Iltija said she inquired for 90 minutes about where the injured tourists were admitted. “We could not find out where they were admitted, in which hospital they were taken. They are hiding them in some hospital....”

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