Srinagar, Aug 9: Militants on Monday afternoon shot dead a Bharatiya Janata Party Sarpanch and his wife, a panch, in a hit-and-run attack in Anantnag district of southern Kashmir. A manhunt has been launched to nab the attackers, police said.
The deceased have been identified as Ghulam Rasool Dar, Sarpanch of Redwani Kulgam, and his wife Jawahira. Dar was also district president, Kisan Morcha for Kulgam. Dar, a retired headmaster, had joined BJP four years ago.
A senior police officer said that militants barged into the rented accommodation of Dar at Pushmohalla, Lal Chowk, Anantnag and opened indiscriminate fire. “The militants fired upon them with pistol from point blank range,” the officer said.
The two were shifted to Government Medical College hospital Anantnag, however they were declared brought dead, the official said, adding that militants managed to escape from the spot.
Soon after the incident, senior police, Army and paramilitary officers reached the spot to take stock of situation. “Search operation in the area is underway,” the senior police officer said.
The incident, which happened despite the security having heightened ahead of forthcoming Independence Day, created panic in the area and people left for safer places. The shopkeepers downed their shutters and left the place, sources said.
Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, who visited the spot said that the banned militant outfit Lashker-e-Toiba was behind the attack. “The LeT terrorist carried out the attack,” the IGP said, adding that until recently the deceased couple was residing in a secure hotel accommodation.
He said that they were allowed to stay at their house on their request. “Two terrorists came on a bike and shot them dead,” the IGP added. “The PSO was absent and he has been suspended.”
Meanwhile, police in a statement in the evening said: “Today at about 1600hrs Anantnag Police received information about a terror crime incident at Lalchowk area of district Anantnag where terrorists had fired upon BJP Sarpanch and his wife, a Panch. IGP Kashmir, DIG SKR & SSP Anantnag reached at the terror crime spot.”
It said: “Preliminary investigation revealed that terrorists barged inside the rented accommodation of BJP Sarpanch, Ghulam Rasool Dar son of Ghulam Hassan Dar resident of Redwani Kulgam at Lalchowk, Anantnag and fired indiscriminately from pistol.
“In this terror crime incident BJP Sarpanch and his wife Jawhara Begum received critical gunshot injuries, who were immediately shifted to hospital, where both were declared brought dead.
“Although the deceased was provided a secured accommodation at Snow cap hotel Kulgam and both stayed there for a short period but they had been continuously insisting to stay at their house at Anantnag Town and also submitted an undertaking in this regard. On their request they were allowed to stay at said house in Anantnag. He was also provided with one PSO who however was found absent from duty at the time of incident. The said PSO has been placed under suspension.
“Police has registered a case in this regard under relevant sections of law. IGP Kashmir said that two bike born terrorists of LeT outfit were involved in this barbaric terror incident.
“Investigation is in progress and officers continue to work to establish the full circumstances of this terror crime. Area has been cordoned (off) and search in the area is going on. The preliminary investigation indicates the involvement of proscribed terror outfit LeT behind this cowardly attack.”