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Tuesday, August 04, 2020

After leader’s killing, J&K BJP seeks security cover, upgrade for 80 of own

A senior officer of the J&K police said on Tuesday that the matter is being looked into by higher authorities.

Written by Adil Akhzer | Srinagar | Updated: July 15, 2020 10:00:48 am
Ram Madhav and Union minister Jitendra Singh at the house of BJP leader Sheikh Waseem Bari, who was killed in a militant attack last week, in Bandipora. (Express photo by Shuaib Masoodi)

Nearly a week after a senior BJP leader Sheikh Waseem Bari and two of his family members were killed in a militant attack in North Kashmir’s Bandipore, the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) unit of the BJP has sought security cover or upgrade for atleast 80 people associated with the party.

A senior officer of the J&K police said on Tuesday that the matter is being looked into by higher authorities.

A member of the party’s state executive committee, Bari and his family members were killed on July 8 outside the Bandipore police station.

“J&K BJP has written to the authorities seeking security for at least 80 people. Among these 80 people, some are leaders or party workers who require upgradation of their existing security cover,” BJP’s spokesperson for the UT, Altaf Thakur, told The Indian Express.

Two leaders in north Kashmir have resigned from the party over the past few days. “They have cited personal problems as the reason. But it [resignation] is likely because of security concerns,” Thakur said.

According to party functionaries, one of the leaders who resigned was a district president of the youth wing in Baramulla district, and the other a district vice president in Kupwara.

During a visit to Bari’s family last Sunday, BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav had said “not only our workers, the administration is making preparations to provide the required security to all political workers.”

However, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the National Conference (NC) say most of their party leaders and workers do not have security cover currently.

In March 2019, after a special security review meeting, the administration had ordered the withdrawal of security cover for around 500 people, a majority of them political workers.

Senior PDP leader Waheed Para told The Indian Express, “Most PDP leaders are without any security currently. The authorities have withdrawn security selectivity of important functionaries and they are using it as a tool to squeeze our political activities… our people are vulnerable and the government is not taking any measures.”

NC spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar questioned the withdrawal of security cover. “All senior leaders of the party, particularly from south Kashmir, are without adequate security at the moment. Why has it been done? The government has to answer. I had adequate security before August 5 (The day the Centre revoked the erstwhile state’s special status and split it into two UTs), but now, there is no one.”

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