Inside a cramped hotel room in Srinagar, Suraya Banu, 40, tries to call her family back home in Lolab area of the frontier district of Kupwara in northern Kashmir, around 120 km from here. Her voice seems distressed. A longing and homesickness is in the air. She is missing the comforts of everyday ordinary life. In times of COVID-19 pandemic, she has been quarantined — always under the hawkish gaze of her two armed guards — due to her politics and the prevailing situation in Kashmir.
The BJP leader and many of her colleagues were shifted to secure Srinagar hotels after BJP’s prominent face in northern Kashmir Wasim Bari, along with his father and brother, who were also BJP members, was killed in Bandipora district at the twilight of July 8. Bari’s whole family was with the BJP. Bari’s wife Syed Falak and his sister Gousia, who escaped alive, continue their association with the BJP and live under security cover.
Bari’s killing sent top BJP leaders, including general secretary and the party’s Kashmir pointsman Ram Madhav, scurrying to Bandipora for mourning. He also extended monetary help to the female party members from the family.
The killings once again attest to the detestable tightrope walk for the pro-India political camp in Kashmir, especially for those belonging to the ruling party, BJP.
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