The Jammu and Kashmir police are learnt to have identified two Hizbul Mujahideen militants — Osama Javed of Dachhan in Kishtwar district and Sajjad Khandey of Pulwama — as the men who shot BJP state secretary Anil Parihar and his brother Ajit Parihar in Kishtwar on November 1. A senior police officer said two persons, including a government employee, have been detained for aiding the militants. Pervaiz Ahmed, working with the State Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Department, is alleged to have provided shelter to the militants at his property in Kishtwar purchased about a year ago.
The second suspect, Riyaz, identified as an overground worker of the Hizbul Mujahideen, is alleged to have accompanied the militants from Dachhan to Kishtwar town to identify the BJP leader.
Police sources said a woman from Dachhan is also being questioned, as call detail records showed that her SIM card was near the site of the killings on November 1. The woman had reportedly given her SIM card to Osama Javed’s sister. Kishtwar SSP Rajinder Gupta declined to comment on the investigations. Sources, however, said the militants are suspected to have stayed at Pervaiz Ahmed’s property for two-three days, during which they carried out a recce of the area. They chose a spot in Tapal mohalla, where the CCTV camera installed by another BJP leader outside his house, was not working. Anil Parihar and his brother, Ajit, were shot on the night of November 1, when they were on their way home. Ajit was an employee of the State Forest Corporation.
Earlier, police detained two PSOs who were assigned to Anil Parihar but were not with him at the time of attack. An empty cartridge of an AK rifle was recovered from the spot. Anil Parihar, considered to be a liberal face of the BJP, was reported to have been targeted in an attempt to derail the coming panchayat elections.
Recently, Governor Satya Pal Malik had said that those behind the killings had been identified and would be brought to book. BJP general secretary Ram Madhav on Tuesday said the killers would be “neutralised” soon. “Right now, our main challenge is to track down the terrorists and neutralise them. This will be done very soon,” he told mediapersons in Kishtwar.
Madhav, accompanied by Union Ministers J P Nadda and Jitendra Singh and state BJP president Ravinder Raina, met the Parihar family and handed over a condolence letter from party chief Amit Shah.
Meanwhile, a team of the National Investigation Agency is in Kishtwar to assist the J&K Police in their investigations.