A day after militants shot dead a Congress Sarpanch in Larkipora area of Anantnag district, mainstream political parties Tuesday demanded security for sarpanches and panches in the Valley while Kashmiri Pandit and other organisations demanded a thorough investigation into the killing.
Saying that an “attack on any public representative is an attack on the democratic setup”, Lieutenant Governor G C Murmu said he has directed authorities to spare no efforts in bringing the culprits to justice.
Meanwhile, J&K Police said that Hizbul Mujahideen militants killed Congress Sarpanch Ajay Pandita, a resident of Lukbawan, when he was on his way to his orchards. “We have identified those responsible for the killing,” a senior police officer said.
Pandita’s body was Tuesday cremated in Jammu’s Shakti Nagar cremation ground.
Demanding a judicial probe, Satish Mahaldar, Chairman of the Reconciliation, Return and Rehabilitation of Migrants, said that Pandita was dedicatedly serving the Kashmiri community for implementation of development schemes and betterment of rural areas with government help. “Those who killed him may have grievances,” Mahaldar said.
Ashwani Charangoon, a Kashmiri Pandit leader aligned with the BJP, demanded the UT government immediately shift all the elected Kashmiri Pandit representatives from Kashmir to Jammu and provide them security cover. He also demanded financial assistance for Pandita’s family and an inquiry.
Congress leaders, including the party’s J&K president Ghulam Ahmad Mir, and former ministers Raman Bhalla and Yogesh Sawhney, questioned the government’s failure in ensuring adequate security for the deceased. Alleging that he was denied security for being a leader of the opposition Congress, they asked the government to fix responsibility. “Since he wasn’t a BJP Sarpanch that is why security wasn’t given to him,”Mir said.
J&K BJP spokesperson Altaf Thakur said, “We have been demanding security cover for our people for a long time. Nothing has happened so far. We urge the police to provide security to all sarpanches and panches.”
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