A Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) leader and his personal security officer (PSO) were killed by militants at a government hospital in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kishtwar town. The militants allegedly snatched the policeman’s weapon and opened fire.
While the PSO died on the spot, the local RSS leader, identified as Chanderkant Sharma, succumbed to his injuries in the district hospital. A curfew has been imposed in the town and the Army has been deployed.
The RSS leader was a medical assistant at the hospital. He had been provided with a PSO following threat perception to him for his association with the RSS. Sources said that militants who were reportedly three in numbers opened fire when Chanderkant along with his PSO was coming out of the hospital’s OPD around 12.30 pm.
The shootout led to a panic in the hospital and taking advantage of the melee, militants fled taking along the AK-47 rifle of the deceased policeman. Inspector General of Police for Jammu zone, M K Sinha, confirmed shootout at the district hospital as an act of terror. “Searches have been launched to track down the militants who have taken along the service weapon of the deceased PSO,” he added.
Condemning the attack on the RSS leader, former chief minister Omar Abdullah said, “Unequivocally condemn the brutal murder of Chandrakant & his personal security officer in #Kishtwar today. There can be no place for targeting political operatives like this. I hope the residents of the area will cooperate with the administration & maintain calm.” Meanwhile, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti called it “part of a bigger plan to incite communal tension.”
The attack comes ten days after a Hizbul Mujahideen militant unsuccessfully attempted to blow up a CRPF bus by hitting it with an explosive-laden Santro car along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway near Banihal town on March 30.
Kishtwar is part of Udhampur parliamentary constituency which is going to polls in the second phase on April 18. BJP’s sitting MP and Minister of State in the PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh, is contesting from the constituency against Congress’ Vikramaditya Singh.
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