Apni Party Worker Shot Dead by Suspected Militants in South Kashmir's Kulgam
Srinagar: Two days after suspected militants killed a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, armed assailants on Thursday shot dead a worker of the Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) near his residence at Devsar village of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district.
The JKAP worker, identified as Ghulam Hassan Lone, was rushed to a local hospital following the attack but, succumbed to his injuries on way, according to eye-witnesses.
JKAP spokesperson Basharat Bukhari told NewsClick that Lone had joined the party four months ago.
Lone, who was earlier affiliated to People’s Democratic Party (PDP), is the first victim from Apni Party to what many believe a series of target assassination being carried out in the region. His killing comes only two days after suspected militants killed BJP’s constituency in charge Javed Ahmad Dar in Kulgam.
The party has been urging the authorities to increase security to its grassroot workers in the wake of fresh violence against mainstream political workers.
On August 9, suspected militants killed another BJP leader Ghulam Rasool Dar and his wife from Kulgam district at Anantnag. The district head of the BJP's Kisan Morcha and his wife were Anantnag town when armed assailants opened fire at them, killing both of them.
Since the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A, over 20 party workers and leaders from BJP have been killed in suspected militant attacks in Jammu and Kashmir in a major setback to both the political party and the security establishment in the region.
According to data from the Jammu and Kashmir police, over 100 BJP workers have personal security officers. But, Kashmir, according to BJP, has as many as 7.5 lakh members on the ground and majority of them face threats from militant groups. The threat, however, is not limited to BJP workers but to all workers affiliated with any mainstream political party.
Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference (JKPC) leader Sajad Lone termed the latest attack on a mainstream leader as “worrying”.
“Strongly condemn the killing of @Apnipartyonline leader Ghulam Hassan Lone in Kulgam. Recent spate of attacks on mainstream leaders is worrying. Violence only brings miseries to people. Such killings only create more widows and orphans. These heinous acts must cease,” Lone tweeted.
Former chief minister and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti condemned the attack while offering condolences to the victim’s family. “Unfortunately there seems to be no end to the spree of political killings in Kashmir. Unreservedly condemn the killing of Apni party leader Ghulam Hassan Lone. My deepest condolences to the bereaved family,” Mehbooba tweeted.
In a statement, JKAP said it "strongly condemns the cowardly act” on Lone, who according to the party spokesperson, was a “prominent” political worker. The statement while quoting the party president Altaf Bukhari termed the incident as “barbaric”.
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