Local politicians continue to be attacked, threatened, killed in J&K

Another political leader shot dead, third attack in a week; militants also claim killing a TA soldier


When Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Waseem Bari, his father and brother were killed in July, leaders of the party his entire family was dedicated to, had sworn that the killers would be punished soon. The BJP general secretary, Ram Madhav who is in charge of Jammu and Kashmir had visited Bari’s mourning family and said, “We hope no one else has to make such a sacrifice. Those who have done this [killings] should be tracked and neutralised soon, is our appeal.”

However, the attacks and killings of local leaders, at the sarpanch, or village head, level have continued over the past three months. The latest victim is Abdul Hamid Najar, Budgam district president of the BJP’s OBC Morcha, who was shot at and injured on Sunday. He succumbed to his injuries on Monday.

Najar was shot at while he was out on a morning walk near the railway station in Budgam. The 38-year-old was shifted to Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital in Srinagar after the attack, reported the Hindustan Times. He died on Monday morning.



Abdul Hamid Najar is the third BJP leader from the Valley to be targeted in the  past week. This attack too was followed by resignations from several local BJP leaders, the Indian Express reported. 

Just a few days before this, on August 6 Sarpanch Sajad Ahmad Khanday was shot dead by militants, near his home in Kulgam’s Qazigund area. He was the party’s district vice president for Kulgam.

The IE reports that according to police the Khanday too, was attacked after he left his secure accommodation to visit his home. Similarly, Sheikh Waseem Bari, his father and brothers were attacked when they were allegedly left unguarded despite having a massive security detail. And Ajay Pandita Bharti, did not even have a security cover he had been asking for, when he was killed.

The IE reports that at least four BJP leaders – general secretary of the party’s Bandipore unit Avtar Krishan, district president of Budgam Imran Ahmad Parray, constituency president Wali Mohammad Bhat, and Budgam district office secretary Sameer Ahmad Shah – have announced their resignation from the BJP. 

Local politicians who have been targeted so far by militants include:

  • August 10: Abdul Hamid Najar, shot, critically injured

  • August 6:  Sarpanch Sajad Ahmad Khanday, shot dead

  • August 4: Arif Ahmad, shot, critically injured

  • July 8: Sheikh Waseem Bari, his father and brother, shot dead

  • June 8: Sarpanch Ajay Pandita Bharti, shot dead


Militant claims killing Territorial Army (TA) soldier

The IE added that on the same day Abdul Hamid Najar was shot at, a man who claimed “to be a militant said in an audio message that they have killed a Territorial Army soldier who went missing from his home in Shopian seven days ago.”

The IE quotes Shopian Superintendent of Police Amrit Pal Singh saying the authorities were “still verifying” the audio message. According to the news report, the Police and the Army have been searching for the missing soldier, who has been identified as Shakir Manzoor Wagay. The 24-year-old soldier, who was posted at the Territorial Army’s Balpora camp, had disappeared soon after leaving his home in Harmain in Shopian on August 2. The car in which he was travelling was found burnt and abandoned at Nehama village in Kulgam some 16 km away that same evening, stated the IE report.

The audio message allegedly sent by the militants said that the “the body of the Territorial Army soldier, Wagay, had been buried in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus” reports IE, quoting the message stating, “We have brought him (Wagay) to an end”.  The militant, who identified himself as “Abu Talha”, said, “We can understand the pain of his parents and other family members but because of the coronavirus, we couldn’t hand over his body to the family so that a crowd doesn’t assemble at his funeral,” reported the IE.

According to the news report this “refusal to return the soldier’s body,” is a message of “retaliation against the government’s decision since March to not hand over the bodies of militants killed in encounters, and instead bury them in unmarked graves across the Valley.” The audio message is quoted as, “Exactly in the way the Army clandestinely buries our martyred mujahideen, we have ourselves performed his (Wagay’s) last rites and haven’t handed over his body to the family.”


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