In one of the deadliest attacks, suspected militants shot a former district president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), his father and brother to death in the northern district of Bandipore in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday (July 08), police said.
According to police, former BJP district president Sheikh Wasim Bari was at the family shop, along with his father Bashir Ahmad and brother Umer Bashir, when unidentified assailants shot all of them dead. The trio was admitted to hospital but all succumbed to their injuries.
According to some locals, the three were just outside their residence when they were attacked by the gunmen at 8:30 pm. Doctors said all three individuals were brought dead.
Jammu and Kashmir Kashmir Zone confirmed in a tweet, “Terrorists fired upon BJP worker Wasim Bari at #Bandipora. During indiscriminate firing Wasim Bari, his father Bashir Ahmad and his brother Umer Bashir got injured and shifted to hospital but unfortunately all the three #succumbed to their injuries.”
Police have also said that action was being taken against the Personal Security Officers (PSOs) deployed for Bari’s security. Bari and his family members were killed in Muslimabad area of Bandipora district.
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Bandipora residents said the BJP leader’s house was not very far from the district police station. In fact, some said the shop and residence of the slain politicians was located almost opposite to Bandipora Police Station.
Situated around 40 km from summer capital Srinagar, Bandipora’s Hajin area was infamous for being a hub of a controversial government-sponsored militia, known as Ikhwan, in the mid-1990s.
However, now the district is in the news as it is being sued as a transit route and base camp for proscribed groups of militants who penetrate into the Kashmir Valley from frontier Kupwara and Baramulla district’s Uri sector at the Line of Control (LoC).
To reach Bandipora’s Hajin, one must drive through picturesque roads lined with poplar and Kashmir’s distinctive maple (Chinar) trees. In recent times, Bandipora has witnessed renewed militancy.
Sorry to hear about the murderous terror attack on the BJP functionaries & their father in Bandipore earlier this evening. I condemn the attack. My condolences to their families in this time of grief. Sadly the violent targeting of mainstream political workers continues unabated.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) July 8, 2020
Omar Abdullah, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and National Conference leader, deplored the killing of the Bari family in a strongly-worded tweet: “Sorry to hear about the murderous terror attack on the BJP functionaries & their father in Bandipore earlier this evening. I condemn the attack. My condolences to their families in this time of grief. Sadly the violent targeting of mainstream political workers continues unabated.”
Ram Madhav, BJP’s General Secretary, also condemned the killing of his party colleague. “Shocked and saddened by d (the) killing of young BJP leader Wasim Bari and his brother by terrorists in Bandipora. Bari’s father who is also a senior leader was injured. This despite 8 security commandos. Condolences to d (the) family,” Madhav wrote in a tweet.
Shocked and saddened by d killing of young BJP leader Wasim Bari and his brother by terrorists in Bandipora. Bari’s father who is also a senior leader was injured. This despite 8 security commandos. Condolences to d family. pic.twitter.com/hAKnOudaxj
— Ram Madhav (@rammadhavbjp) July 8, 2020
Last month, suspected militants shot dead Ajay Pandita, a 40-year-old Sarpanch, in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district. Pandita was Sarpanch of Lukbawan village in Larkipora in Anantnag.
As government forces have intensified their anti-militancy operations, it seems militant groups are now targeting politicians, especially those affiliated with the BJP.