Terming the attack a 'barbaric' incident, BJP spokesperson Altaf Thakur said that such attacks won’t deter party leaders from serving the people.
A municipal councillor of the BJP was shot dead by three unidentified terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Tral on Wednesday. A daughter of his friend also received serious gunshot injuries and is being treated in a hospital. “Rakesh Pandita succumbed to injuries whereas the woman is seriously wounded,” a police statement said. Rakesh Pandita was the chairman of the Tral Municipal Committee. He was staying at a Srinagar government accommodation under police security due to a militant threat. Pandita had been assigned two Personal Security Officers (PSOs). According to the police, Pandita left his security officials behind while going to Tral which is his hometown.
“Despite being provided with 2 PSOs and secured hotel accommodation in Srinagar, the said councillor went to Tral without PSOs. The area has been cordoned off and a search operation is underway,” said Kashmir IG Vijay Kumar.
IG Kumar urged protectees not to go out without their PSO. “No protectee should go anywhere without PSOs. Visits are allowed only after ground assessment of local threats is done. We request all protectees not to violate SOPs and risk their lives unnecessarily,” he said.
This is the third killing of a councillor in Kashmir this year. On March 30, some terrorists had stormed the office of the Sopore Municipal Council and killed two councillors belonging to the BJP and a policeman.
Terming the attack a ‘barbaric’ incident, BJP spokesperson Altaf Thakur said that such attacks won’t deter party leaders from serving the people.
Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief Ravinder Raina said that the martyrdom of Rakesh Pandita will not go in vain. “The terrorists causing a bloodbath in Kashmir Valley will be eliminated. It is a murder of humanity and Kashmiriyat,” he said.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh also condemned the attack. “Deeply shocked by the fatal terror attack on Municipal Councillor of Tral, Pulwama, Rakesh Pandita. An extremely dastardly and inhuman act by those who do not want grassroot democracy to gain ground in Kashmir Valley! My deep condolences to the family,” he said.
Former Chief Minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said that these senseless acts of violence have brought only misery to Jammu and Kashmir.
People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone said that the valley had enough of the bloodbath. “Yet again gunmen attack a non combatant. This gun is a curse. Just ponder. Since the day this menace came into Kashmir. What have we seen. In a nut shell total disempowerment of the Kashmiri. Dear gunmen. Can you please go back where you came from. We have had enough,” he said, condemning the attack.