Yet another political leader was shot dead by suspected terrorists in the Budgam area of Kashmir on September 23. Block Development Council (BDC) chairman Bupinder Singh, was shot at and critically injured, at Khag in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Wednesday evening, stated news reports. Singh succumbed to his injuries later. Officials said that unidentified gunmen attacked Bupinder Singh at a time when he was not accompanied by his personnel security officers (PSO’s), reported the Hindustan Times.
Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar told the media, “Singh left his two PSOs at Khag police station and left his ancestral home alone.”
This is the fifth such killing of a political leader, in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir in the past four months or so. According to news reports this incident sent fresh shockwaves in the political circles of the state. Condemning the killing, BJP state spokesperson Altaf Thakur was quoted by HT saying, “Singh was an independent chairman and was killed at Khag. Our party condemns the killing.” Since June five BJP leaders including two sarpanches have been killed in different parts of Kashmir.
“Very sorry to hear about the assassination of BDC councillor Bhupinder Singh. Mainstream grass root political workers are easy targets for militants & unfortunately in recent years the threat to them has only increased. My condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace,” posted National Conference Vice President and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
Very sorry to hear about the assassination of BDC councillor Bhupinder Singh. Mainstream grass root political workers are easy targets for militants & unfortunately in recent years the threat to them has only increased. My condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) September 23, 2020
Apni Party president Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari also condemned the killing, reported Greater Kashmir. In a statement, Bukhari termed the killing “highly unfortunate, inhuman and barbaric”, adding. “Such acts of violence can never achieve anything except for bringing more miseries to the people.” He said the use of guns on innocent civilians since the 1990s have only brought death and destruction to J&K and have further pushed the people to a dead end. Bukhari said the recent spree of killings of Panchayat representatives in Kashmir is a dastardly act by the elements inimical to peace and prosperity of J&K, reported GK. “Violence in any of its form and manifestations will beget violence and this vicious cycle needs an end so that the people of J&K who have suffered a lot in the last many decades live in peace and harmony,” said Bukhari. He has urged the Union Home minister to order a review of the security cover of political activists in J&K, and said that this “killing in Khag-Budgam has belied the claims of the government. The union home minister should intervene into the matter and order a serious review and categorization of political activists who have put their lives at risk in order to keep the democratic process alive in J&K,” stated the GK report.
Apni Party vice president Ghulam Hassan Mir, provincial president Mohammad Ashraf Mir, provincial vice president Jagmohan Singh Raina and party leader Muntazir Mohi-u-Din have also strongly condemned the killing, stated the news report. The BJP state spokesperson Altaf Thakur also condemned the killing and has demanded security cover for all political workers.
The Lt Governor of J&K, Manoj Sinha, has also expressed his condolences. He tweeted, “I strongly condemned the killing of BDC Chairman from Khag Budgam,Bhupinder Singh. My deepest sympathies to the bereaved family and pray for eternal peace to the departed soul.”
I strongly condemned the killing of BDC Chairman from Khag Budgam,Bhupinder Singh.
My deepest sympathies to the bereaved family and pray for eternal peace to the departed soul.
— Manoj Sinha (@manojsinha_) September 24, 2020
This killing comes in the wake of multiple such attacks in recent months, targeting political workers in various parts of the UT.
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
According to the report in Greater Kashmir, the slain leader Bhupinder Singh was a resident of Tulsi Bagh Srinagar and he had gone to Budgam to attend a function. DGP Dilbagh Singh told the media that Singh had left his two security guards at the local police station. This nature attack, when the victim had a lack of police protection too has been reported before in the case of other politicians who were killed recently.
On August 15, when he was newly appointed, Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, in his Independence Day speech had remembered the local leaders Ajay Pandita and Wasim Bari, who he said had “laid down their lives to defend the idea of India.”