Majid Kapra

Policeman killed in militant attack on BJP leader’s residence

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Attack evokes condemnations from political parties

Police personnel paying tributes to their fallen colleague during a wreath laying ceremony. Photo Javed Khan

Srinagar: A policeman was shot dead by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants Thursday morning in an attempted attack on a local BJP leader in the outskirts of Srinagar city, police said.

One of the four militants disguised himself as a woman wearing ‘Burqa’ (veil) and approached the main door of the residence of BJP leader Anwar Ahmad in Arigam Nowgam here, requesting for a meeting, a police official said.

The official said Ahmad — who is the BJP’s district general secretary for Baramulla and incharge for Kupwara district — was not present in the house as he is in Jammu.

“As soon as the main door was opened, the militants fired indiscriminately, killing a sentry, identified as Rameez Raja, on the spot,” he said.

Raja was taken to SMHS hospital here, where doctors declared him brought dead.

The militants, fearing retaliatory firing from the other guards inside the residence, left the spot after coming to know that the BJP leader was not present in the house, the official said, adding, however, they decamped with the SLR rifle of the slain cop.

The attack comes three days after militants gunned down a Block Development Council (BDC) member and his personal security guard in Sopore area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

BDC member Reyaz Ahmad, affiliated with the BJP, and his personal security guard Shafqat Ahmad had died on the spot in the indiscriminate firing by militants who had barged into the premises of Sopore Municipal Council where a meeting of the council was going on.

Another councilor, Shamsuddin Peer, was injured and later died at a hospital here.

Kashmir Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vijay Kumar said the four militants belonging to the LeT carried out the attack on the BJP leader’s residence.

Kumar said one of the four militants was wearing a ‘Burqa’ (veil) and imitated a woman’s voice while asking for opening the main door at the residence of the BJP leader.

“There was one sentry on the main door and two cops in the guard room. As is clear from the CCTV footage, one terrorist wearing a ‘Burqa’ knocked on the main door and asked, imitating a woman’s voice, for opening it,” the IGP told reporters on the sidelines of a wreathlaying ceremony of the slain cop.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, K Pandurang Pole and other senior officers from police, central armed paramilitary forces and civil administration also paid floral tributes to the slain cop at the Police Control Room here.

Kumar said two militants out of the four militants have been identified.

“Initially, we thought the one wearing a ‘Burqa’ was a lady, but when we analysed the CCTV footage closely, we found that it was not a lady, but a male and a terrorist. Two out of the four have been identified and are from Srinagar city.

“They belong to the LeT outfit.  One of them is Shahid Khurshid Dar, he is from Chanapora and is a categorized terrorist. The other is Obaid Shafi Dar. They both joined the LeT last year along with four others,” he said.

The IGP said the security forces will neutralise the attackers soon “after generating pinpoint intelligence”.

Meanwhile, the attack evoked widespread condemnations from political parties.

Condemning the attack, National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah expressed concern over the “deteriorating security environment” in the Kashmir valley.

Omar prayed for peace to the soul of the deceased and expressed unison with the bereaved family on their irreparable loss.

The BJP condemned the militant attack, saying such incidents cannot weaken democracy in Jammu and Kashmir.

BJP’s national general secretary and in-charge Jammu and Kashmir, Tarun Chungh, expressed anguish over this “highly deplorable” incident and stressed that exemplary punishment will be ensured to the killers of the policeman.

“These repeated terror attacks cannot weaken democracy in the region,” he said in an apparent reference to similar attacks in the past on the party leaders, some of whom have lost their lives.

Jammu and Kashmir BJP president Ravinder Raina also condemned the attack and said the whole humanity is feeling shocked and ashamed on such incidents.

“Being soldiers of democracy, the social and political activists work tirelessly in strengthening the democracy, but terrorists, their bosses and their sympathisers do not want people to prosper,” he said.

Jammu and Kashmir BJP general secretary (Organisation) Ashok Kaul said those who attacked Khan’s residence and killed the innocent policeman would not be spared.

He demanded BJP workers be given proper security, so that they will not become easy targets for anti-national elements.

Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) strongly condemned the killing and expressed serious concern over the “deteriorating situation in the valley”.

In a statement, the JKPCC described the incident as “cowardice and shameful act”.

The party also expressed serious concern over the frequent militant attacks in Kashmir and emphasized on the government to take more effective measures to contain such mindless attacks and ensure that there is no further loss of life.

The party is highly concerned about the loss of lives, the JKPCC said, conveying deepest condolences to the family of the slain cop.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti while condemning the attack said, “I always say, guns cannot be the solution to any issue, but dialogue can, I condemn the attack in strong words.” (With PTI inputs)

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