Barely 48 hours after Sarpanch Arif Ahmad was shot at in Kulgam area, around 6- kilometers from Srinagar, another Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader has been shot dead. According to a news report by NDTV, Sajad Ahmad Khanday was shot dead near his home in Kulgam’s Qazigund area. He was the party’s district vice president for Kulgam. The news report states that he was rushed to a hospital in Anantnag district where he was declared brought dead.
A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and sarpanch was shot dead by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. Sajad Ahmad Khanday was shot near his home in south Kashmir’s Kulgam. pic.twitter.com/y8pSpEy1n1
— Hindustan Times (@htTweets) August 6, 2020
The attack comes less than 48 hours after another BJP sarpanch was shot at, even though the Union Territory (UT) was said to have been under a heightened security cover as it was the one-year anniversary of its creation, and of the abrogation of Article 370.
Pictures of BJP workers carrying coffin of BJP SARPANCH at Vessu village in Qazigund block of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district who was killed by Suspected militants on Thursday.
— Bol Kashmir (@bol_kashmir) August 6, 2020
The attacks have laid bare official claims that terror activities had been curbed since the new laws were enacted. This attack also seems to have exposed a pattern of attacks on sarpanchs, who lead the panchayats, or village level governing bodies. Here are those who have been attacked in the past few months:
August 2020: Sarpanch shot at close range in Kulgam district
Arif Ahmad, was at his home in Akhran village of Kulgam district, when the attackers, allegedly militants, barged in and fired at him. The Indian Express reported that the assailants entered the village on Tuesday evening and opened fire from close range. “He has a bullet in the chest… His condition remains critical,” said Dr Mohammad Iqbal, Medical Superintendent of the Government Medical College in Anantnag where Ahmad has been admitted.
July 2020: Terrorists kill BJP leader Sheikh Waseem Bari, his father and brother in Bandipore.
The young Kashmiri politician Sheikh Waseem Bari, had 10 cops, including eight security commandos guarding him. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Bandipore District President who was just 27-years-old, was shot and killed on July 8, allegedly in a terror attack, along with his father and brother, near the Bandipore Police Station.
June 2020: Larkipora’s sarpanch Ajay Pandita Bharti, was shot dead
Congress Party’s sarpanch Ajay Pandita was gunned down on June 8, 2020, later, Sheen, Pandita’s daughter, had put the Bharatiya Janata Party in the dock blaming them for not providing security. “My father had asked for security. No one asks for security without reason,” she had told news channels, “So why did they not give security?”
The latest killing of a grassroot politician has shaken political workers of the UT. The Sarpanch Association has condemned the killing of Panchayat members, and asked “Why are they killing us if we are working for people. We are a part of your family. We are members of your family. We work for you, we get your roads fixed. If we have committed a wrong ask your family members why they voted for us?” the representative can be heard asking. Perhaps addressing his query to both the attackers, and the administration.
— Kashmir Patriot (@KashmirPatriot) August 6, 2020
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