The safety of political workers has once again come under the scanner after the killing of BJP leader Sheikh Wasim and his family. The death of Wasim and his family comes a month after militants killed another political worker from the Indian National Congress in Anantnag.
A ruling BJP leader, his father and brother were shot dead in Kashmir on Wednesday. The murder took place in Bandipora district yesterday evening after suspected militants gunned down the trio at their shop. The latest killings depict a grim picture of Kashmir and raise concern over the safety of political workers.
The deceased included Sheikh Wasim, a BJP leader, his father Basheer Ahmad and brother Umar. According to police reports, the family was attacked as they stood outside their shop, just metres away from a local police station.
A media report states that Wasim and his family were shot in the head and the succumbed to their injuries en route to the hospital. The culprits were armed with a revolver (fitted with a silencer) and rode motorcycles.
Although Wasim had been granted security detail, none of the eight guards deployed were present when the terrorists attacked. Sources say the guards have been arrested for dereliction of duty and an investigation has been started.
“We are taking a tough (stand) against them for dereliction of duty and failure to protect the life,” Vijay Kumar, Inspector General of Police Kashmir, said.
The killing of Wasim and his family comes a month after militants killed Ajay Pandita Bharti, a sarpanch in LukBhawan Larkipora area of Anantnag in Southern Kashmir. Bharti, a Kashmiri Pandit had returned to the valley only a few years ago.
The killing of political workers has exposed the grim reality of the current situation in Kashmir. The Narendra Modi led BJP government had made it a priority to wipe out militancy from the region and restore peace and tranquillity. However, the killings indicate that the government has a difficult at hand.
The cold-blooded murder of Wasim and his family led to politicians and ministers offering their condolences. Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally sought details and extended his condolences to Mr Wasim’s family in a telephonic conversation with Union Minister Jitendra Singh.
Over the telephone, PM @narendramodi enquired about the gruesome killing of Wasim Bari. He also extended condolences to the family of Wasim.
— Dr Jitendra Singh (@DrJitendraSingh) July 8, 2020
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah took to Twitter to express his grief and extended condolence to the family of the victims.
Sorry to hear about the murderous terror attack on the BJP functionaries & their father in Bandipore earlier this evening. I condemn the attack. My condolences to their families in this time of grief. Sadly the violent targeting of mainstream political workers continues unabated.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) July 8, 2020
Senior BJP leader Ram Madhav and BJP President JP Nadda also expressed their shock anger of the killing. Both extended condolences to the family and notes that Wasim’s death was a big loss to the party
We lost Sheikh Waseem Bari,his father & brother in Bandipora, J&K today in a cowardly attack on them.This is a huge loss for the party. My deepest condolences are with the family.The entire Party stands with the bereaved family. I assure that their sacrifice will not go in vain.
— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) July 8, 2020
Kashmir has seen an uptick in militancy in recent months. However, Indian armed forces have enjoyed the upper hand so far thanks to their alertness and combat superiority. According to data collected by South Asian Terrorism Portal, 138 militants have been killed in 2020 so far. Meanwhile, 14 civilians and 33 members of the armed forces have also lost their lives during the same period.