SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir
A policeman guarding the house of a local leader of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was fatally shot by suspected militants on the outskirts of Srinagar, the capital of Indian-administered Kashmir, on Thursday, a police official said.
The BJP leader, Anwar Khan, was not at his residence at the time of the attack. An official at the SMHS Hospital told Anadolu Agency that the policeman, Ramiz Ahmad, was brought dead to the hospital.
This is the second attack in the past four days on politicians associated with the BJP, whose government in New Delhi scrapped the political autonomy of the Jammu and Kashmir state on Aug. 5, 2019, besides amending laws that have raised fears of ethnic flooding of the Muslim-majority region by Hindus.
On Monday, suspected militants attacked a meeting of municipal councilors in northern Kashmir’s flashpoint of Sopore, killing two councilors associated with BJP and a policeman.
The police said they had identified the persons who carried out the attack, besides suspended four police officers over negligence.
About a dozen BJP members, all ethnic Kashmiri Muslims, have been killed since Aug. 5, 2019. In one such attack, suspected militants fatally shot Sheikh Wasim Bari, a member of the BJP’s executive committee for the region, and his father and brother, who also were BJP members, in the Bandipora area of northern Kashmir on July 8, 2020.
In the wake of the attacks, the party had shifted dozens of its local Muslim leaders and activists to hotels and other places heavily guarded by police and paramilitary soldiers.
After Monday’s attack, the police reviewed the security of “protected persons” accommodated in hotels, and guards deployed for their security asked to remain “extra alert,” a police spokesman said on Wednesday.
Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed both in full. China also has a small sliver of Kashmir.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965, and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or unification with neighboring Pakistan.
According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.