BJP leader Rakesh Pandita was shot dead by militants late on Wednesday evening in south Kashmir’s Tral area. Pandit, a municipal chairman of Tral in Pulwama district, was visiting a friend, Mushtaq Ahmad, when three terrorists opened fire at them. His friend’s daughter, Asifa Mushtaq, was also hit and is battling for life.
“Pandita succumbed to injuries whereas the daughter of his friend is seriously wounded,” Vikay Kumar, Inspector General of Police (Kashmir) said.
Police said Pandita was living in a secure accommodation at Srinagar and was provided with two personal security officers. But they were not accompanying him when he went to visit his friend.
“The councillor was not accompanied by the PSOs during his visit to Tral. Police and security forces have cordoned the area and a massive search operation has been launched to nab the assailants,” a police officer said.
BJP spokesman Altaf Thakur condemned the killing. “Such attacks won’t stop BJP leaders from serving the people. He said that attacking unarmed people is not bravery and the police must track down the culprits and punish them accordingly,” said Thakur.
Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha condemned the terror attack.
“Terrorists will never succeed in their nefarious designs, and those responsible for such heinous acts shall be brought to justice,” he said on Twitter.
Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti said she was shocked. “These senseless acts of violence have brought only misery to J&K,” she tweeted.
People’s Conference chairman, Sajjad Lone condemned the killing of another civilian.
“Yet again gunmen attack a non combatant. This gun is a curse. Just ponder. Since the day this menace came into Kashmir. What have we seen. In a nutshell total disempowerment of the Kashmiri. Dear gunmen. Can u (you) please go back where u (you) came from. We have had enough,” tweeted Sajjad Lone.