The BJP’s district vice-president for Anantnag was shot dead by suspected militants in Verinag area of south Kashmir on Saturday, less than 48 hours before Shopian and Pulwama districts of Anantnag parliamentary constituency go to polls. Verinag, which comes under Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, has already voted.
Gul Mohammed Mir, a senior BJP leader in his late 50s, was shot at his home in Nowgam village on Saturday night, police officials said.
The state BJP unit alleged said his security was recently withdrawn, and that the matter was taken up with them but no action was taken.
“Shot at BJP member Ghulam Ahmed Mir brought dead to district hospital Anantnag. Investigation set into motion,” Kashmir police zone tweeted. Another tweet by police said, “Unknown terrorist fired upon a member of the BJP namely #Gull Mohammed Mir# at Nowgam Verinag. Shifted to hospital in critical condition.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the killing of the senior BJP leader. Expressing condolences, Modi said, “there is no place for such violence in our country.”
A J&K Police spokesperson said in a statement that a case has been registered. “Area has been taken into cordon and police is investigating the circumstances of this terror crime,” the statement said.
Dr Abdul Majid Merab, Medical Superintendent of Anantnag District Hospital, told The Indian Express that Gul was brought to the hospital and declared brought dead. “He sustained bullet wounds on chest,” he added.
State BJP spokesperson Altaf Thakur said Gul was associated with the BJP for a long time. “We have lost a senior leader today. He had contested Assembly elections from Dooru constituency in 2008 and 2014,” he said.
According to Thakur, Gul was attacked at his home by militants. “His security was withdrawn by the authorities, currently he was without any security. We are holding security agencies responsible for the killing, because they withdrew his security despite writing to them,” he added.
Towards March end, a special security review meeting ordered withdrawal of security of around 500 protected persons, most of them political workers. Subsequently, parties approached the state election commission over the matter. Senior officials from the Election Commission told The Indian Express last month that after receiving the communication from the political parties on the issue, they took up the matter with the state government and the commission was expecting a review soon.
A local political leader, Ghulam Nabi Patel, who was earlier associated with the Congress and PDP, was killed in April 2018.
Gul’s killing was condemned by other political parties, too. “Gul Mohd Mir was the District Vice President of the BJP state unit. May his family & loved ones find strength at this difficult time,” NC vice-president and former CM Omar Abdullah said.
PDP president and former CM Mehbooba Mufti said, “I strongly condemn the killing of @BJP4India leader Gul Muhammad Mir in Verinag, South Kashmir. My condolences to the bereaved family and prayers for the departed soul.”
J&K Pradesh Congress Committee president Ghulam Ahmad Mir also condemned the killing.