Three BJP leaders shot dead in Kashmir
Three BJP leaders were killed on Thursday evening in one of the deadliest militant attacks on politicians in the Valley in months, triggering panic.
A police spokesman said militants opened fire on Fida Hussain Itoo, Umar Rashid Beigh and Omar Ramzan Hajam in Y.K. Pora village of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district. They were declared dead on arrival at the hospital.
The BJP said all three were office-bearers of its youth wing.
A spokesman condemned the “barbaric terror attack on BJP leaders” and said those “responsible for this will not be spared”.
BJP activists have borne the brunt of militant attacks since last year’s abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370.
In July, militants killed BJP leader Wasim Bari, his father Bashir Ahmad and brother Umar Bashir in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district.
Several BJP activists subsequently announced their resignation from the party.
BJP sources said the fresh attack has triggered panic among its men, many of whom have been accommodated in safe locations away from their homes.
A BJP leader said the three men killed on Thursday had earlier sought security.
The Resistance Front (TRF), which is believed to be a shadow group of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, has claimed responsibility for the killings. In messages in English and Hindi on its social media account, the TRF threatened that “crematoriums will get overbooked”.
BJP’s J&K president Ravinder Raina condemned the killings by “Pakistani cowards”.
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah said he “unequivocally condemns” the killings.