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LG, political parties condemn killing of ATM guard

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“Forces have been given free hand to deal with terrorists”

Jammu: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and various political parties condemned the killing of the ATM guard in Pulwama.

“My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. The administration has given a free hand to the security forces to deal with the terrorists and we will continue to combat such acts of terrorism firmly and decisively,” the LG said.

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah said the barbaric killing raises questions on the security apparatus and the law and order situation in the Valley.

“I am deeply saddened to know about the barbaric killing of Sanjay ji. The bereaved family has my deepest sympathies and unwavering support. Words of condemnation and condolence ring hollow as do the assurances of the government on safeguarding the lives of people. This killing yet again raises the troubling question on security apparatus, law and order situation in the Valley,” Abdullah said.

NC’s vice-president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah also condemned the killing.

“Deeply saddened… Sanjay was working as a bank security guard and was killed in a militant attack earlier today. I unequivocally condemn this attack and send my condolences to his loved ones,” Omar Abdullah said in a tweet.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti accused the BJP-led Centre of failing to protect Kashmiri Pandits. The former chief minister also hit out at the perpetrators of the attack.

Talking to reporters in Anantnag, she said, “A few days ago, right-wing terrorists killed two Muslims in Rajasthan. Today, you have killed a Hindu. What is the difference between you and them?”

Mufti accused the BJP government of endangering the lives of minorities in Kashmir while projecting a picture of normalcy in the valley.

Peoples Conference President, Sajad Lone said that those involved in such killings are worst enemies of Kashmiris.

“Condemn the dastardly and cowardly killing of Sanjay Pandit. I wonder what these thugs will achieve. Killing innocents who chose to stay back or come back suits only the worst enemies of Kashmiris. My prayers with family of Mr Sanjay,”. Lone tweeted.

“Any killing, especially a targeted killing, is a matter of grave concern and condemnable. We condemn it,” Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

The DPAP chief said every targeted killing is condemnable, be that of a Kashmiri Pandit or a Muslim or a Sikh and whether the victim is from Jammu or Kashmir.

However, the former chief minister said the most unfortunate part is that while many people were arrested in connection with such incidents over the last 30 years, “not one killer has been arrested for these targeted killings in the last two years”.

Azad said while it was a reality that militancy has decreased in J&K, what is worrisome is that such target killings have been taking place for the last few months.

He said such mysterious killings pain him and he requested the government to make security agencies, intelligence agencies and law and order enforcement agencies answerable for such killings as “no one was arrested for such killings”.

The former Union minister said except the targeted killings taking place, there was “no militancy in J&K”.

“There is no hartal, there is no stone-pelting. So, there is no justification for the LG’s rule and delaying elections,” he added.

BJP J&K general secretary (Organisation) Ashok Koul said the government must strengthen the security grid to nab the culprits behind the attack and punish them.

The Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee termed it an act of cowardice.

“The perpetrators of this heinous crime must be identified and given exemplary punishment.  Bloodshed and killing of innocent people are highly condemnable and deserve strong condemnation by every section of the people,” the JKPCC said in a statement.

“Condemning in no uncertain terms the killing of Sanjay Pandith in Pulwama. The unfortunate incident has again raised the spectre of last year’s despicable targeted killings in the Valley.  Sharing the pain and grief of the bereaved family,” CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami said in a tweet.

Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari described the attack as barbaric and heinous.

“Terribly sad over the barbaric terror attack consuming the life of Sanjay Sharma, a Kashmiri Pandit brother. Such heinous acts have only left trails of death & suffering. I condemn this unequivocally. My condolences to the family,” he said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, activists of the J&K unit of Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) led by their president Manish Sahni staged a demonstration outside their office at Channi Himmat on the outskirts of Jammu to protest the killing of Sharma.

“Despite the government’s claims of normalcy, the terrorists are frequently carrying out targeted killings in the valley. We condemn the killing and demand relocation of the Hindu employees who are on protest strike in Jammu over the past eight months,” said Sahni amid anti-Pakistan and anti-terrorism sloganeering by the participants.

BJP’s youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha also staged a protest in Jammu against the killing and demanded stern action against the terrorists responsible for the “brutal act”.

The protesters chanted slogans against Pakistan and terrorists during the demonstration that was led by J&K BJYM president Arun Prabhat.

“We strongly condemn the killing of innocent people by terrorists. The selective killings of minority community members in Kashmir are aimed at disturbing the hard earned peace in Jammu and Kashmir.

“We appeal to LG Manoj Sinha that security agencies should be given free hand to neutralize all terrorists involved in such killings,” Prabhat said.

He said they would not tolerate “Pakistan’s policy of bloodshed” and all anti-national forces should be dealt with sternly.

“Terrorists and their sympathizers have been bleeding Jammu and Kashmir at the behest of Pakistan from whom they are taking money,” he said.

Prabhat said the BJP government at the Centre has adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards terrorism and forces have crushed terrorism and would continue to do so.

“The stern action by our armed forces has caused a significant drop in terrorist incidents in Jammu and Kashmir since abrogation of Article 370. An era of normalcy has returned to Jammu and Kashmir which has frustrated Pakistan and its sympathizers here,” he said.

Seeking an immediate end to the senseless killing of innocent people, the BJYM leader said there was an urgent need to review the security arrangements for the minority community in Kashmir to ensure their safety and security.

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