JAMMU: Jammu and Kashmir BJP state secretary Anil Parihar and his brother were shot dead by suspected militants in Kishtwar town of Jammu region Thursday, police said.
The killings, coming ahead of the panchayat elections starting November 17, triggered angry protests in the town. While authorities imposed curfew, army was also called out to maintain order, reported PTI news agency.
According to a police officer, Parihar, 53, and his brother Ajit were returning home after closing their stationery shop late evening when two unidentified gunmen came and shot them at point-blank range. “.. it appeared they had been keeping a watch on the daily routine of the BJP leader and his brother,” said the officer.
The brothers were rushed to Kishtwar district hospital where doctors declared them dead.
Parihar had been associated with the BJP for over three decades, save a brief stint in the Panthers Party. Before becoming the BJP’s state secretary, he had been the state president of its youth wing, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha.
His younger brother Ajit was an employee of the state forest corporation and also looked after the shop.
As the news of the killings spread, protests erupted in the town. A mob stoned the police station and allegedly assaulted the station house officer. There were also reports said that even senior superintendent of police Rajinder Gupta faced resistance from protesters as he rushed to the spot.
Kishtwar deputy commissioner Angrez Singh Rana imposed curfew in the town as a precautionary measure after incidents of violence and vandalism were reported.
Bharatiya Janata Party leaders condemned the killings. “The cowards attacked them in the dark from point-blank range. We strongly condemn this dastardly attack. The terrorists involved in it will not be spared. In this hour of grief, the entire BJP and the countrymen stand by their families,” said state party chief Ravinder Raina.
Minister of state in the prime minister’s office Jitendra Singh, who is the local MP, was rushing to the spot.
Former state chief minister Omar Abdullah also expressed his condolences. “Very sad news. My condolences to Anil & Ajit Parihar’s family & colleagues. May their souls rest in peace,” he said in a tweet.__Hindustan Times