A sarpanch of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was shot dead by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Thursday.
Sajad Ahmad Khanday was shot dead near his home in Kulgam’s Qazigund area, about 60 km from Srinagar. Khanday was BJP’s district vice president for Kulgam.
Sajad Ahmad Khanday was fired upon by terrorists outside his residence in Vessu, Kulgam, following which he was rushed to a hospital in the nearby Anantnag district after the attack where “he was declared brought dead”, officials were quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
The attack comes less than 48 hours after a BJP-affiliated panchayat member, Arif Ahmad Khan, was shot at in Kulgam district. He is recovering from his injuries in hospital.
Initial reports said that the deceased sarpanch was staying in a migrant camp with several other sarpanches.
Last month, BJP’s Sheikh Wasim Bari, his father and brother were killed by terrorists in Bandipore district. They were attacked while they were sitting outside a shop near a police station in Bandipora. All three suffered injuries in the attack and were rushed to a hospital, where they were pronounced dead.
“Terrorists fired on BJP worker Wasim Bari at Bandipora. During indiscriminate firing Wasim Bari, his father Bashir Ahmad and brother Umer Bashir got injured and shifted to hospital, but all three succumbed to their injuries,” J&K Police had tweeted at the time.
BJP chief JP Nadda said Mr Wasim’s death was a huge loss for the party. “This is a huge loss for the party. My deepest condolences are with the family. The entire Party stands with the bereaved family. I assure that their sacrifice will not go in vain,” he had tweeted.
A new terror group – The Resistance Front- had claimed responsibility for the attack. The police said it is a front of the Jaish, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen.
So far, no terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack that took place with Sajad Ahmad Khanday.
The outgoing lieutenant governor GC Murmu said that they were assessing the situation. “We have seen that some soft targets are there. A lot of terrorists have been neutralization recently so there are some desperate actions. Wherever it is required, we are providing security. It is a continuous process to assess the threat,” he said.
On June 8, 2020, Kashmiri Pandit and Congress sarpanch Ajay Kumar Pandita was killed outside his house at Lokbhawan in Anantnag district.
In an attempt to give more power to sarpanchs, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has decided to spend Rs 1,700 crore to empower the newly constituted panchayats. Empowerment of sarpanchs will enable the locals to easily get access to the government welfare schemes.