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BJP leader shot dead in Kashmir, Guv orders probe

May 05, 2019 17:30 IST

Mir's son, Zahoor Ahmed Mir, said his father's security was withdrawn two months ago and all efforts to get it back had fallen on deaf ears.

IMAGE: Locals at the funeral ceremony of Gul Mohammed Mir in Srinagar. Photograph: Umar Ganie for Rediff.com

Terrorists shot dead Bharatiya Janata Party leader Gul Mohammed Mir in his house in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district on Saturday night, police said.

The killing has sparked off a controversy with Governor Satya Pal Malik on Sunday ordering an inquiry headed by state chief secretary B V R Subrahmanyam to 'identify lapses' while political parties accusing the top bureaucrat of creating a chaotic situation by withdrawing security of political activists.

The police said three terrorists came to Mir's house in Nowgam Verinag area and asked for the keys for his car.

While driving the vehicle away, they pumped bullets into Mir, who was popular in the area as 'Atal', they said.

 

A police official said Mir was rushed to a hospital in a critical condition where he succumbed to injuries.

Condoling the death of Mir, 57, the BJP leader who unsuccessfully contested on the party ticket in 2008 and 2014 assembly elections from Dooru in South Kashmir, Governor Malik asked the chief secretary to identify any lapses on part of the security agencies in ensuring security of political activists, an official spokesman said.

The governor has called for an emergency meeting on Monday, when government offices will reopen in summer capital of Srinagar after the bi-annual 'Darbar move', during which he will review the safety and security aspects of all political leaders and sarpanchs in the state, he said.

Malik directed the chief secretary to get an inquiry conducted into the killings of political leaders belonging to various parties in the state in the last few months.

Terrorists, besides fighting the security forces, target political or social activists in the state. The ultras killed a senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh functionary Chanderkant Sharma and his Personal Security Officer (PSO) Rajinder Kumar at the District Hospital in Kishtwar on April 9.

Similarly, a panch, Abdul Majeed Dar, from Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir was shot dead by terrorists at his residence on April 4.

On March 14, a political worker associated with the National Conference -- Mohammad Ismail Wani -- was shot at and injured by suspected terrorists in Anantnag district.

On March 30, suspected terrorists shot dead social activist Arjumand Majid Bhat in Baramulla district.

Mir's son, Zahoor Ahmed Mir, said his father's security was withdrawn two months ago and all efforts to get it back had fallen on deaf ears.

"I had given a letter of the BJP leaders to SSP Anantnag but he expressed his helplessness and directed me to see Munir Khan (Additional Director General of Police in charge of security)," he said.

Security of political activists, including the elder Mir, was withdrawn on the orders of the chief secretary in February despite opposition from security agencies, officials said.

IMAGE: Family members of Mir mourn after his death. Photograph: Umar Ganie for Rediff.com

The security agencies had suggested that no security should be withdrawn until the election process is completed.

However, the chief secretary ordered reconstitution of the screening committee and removed police officials from it and appointed state home secretary Shaleen Kabra as its chairman, a move that has come under criticism.

Former chief minister and National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah, while taking a potshot at the chief secretary, said withdrawing security of political activists was a 'foolish decision'.

'Questions need to be asked but they can't be answered by the person who was responsible for the actual order to withdraw security. The security withdrawal had been opposed by state and central intelligence agencies so who overruled them and went ahead regardless?' he tweeted.

'Not long ago senior BJP leaders were bragging about how undeserving people had their security withdrawn in J&K. I'd warned against the decision then and yesterday's assassination of Gul Mohd Mir only confirms what I'd feared -- it was a foolish decision disconnected from reality,' Abdullah said.

Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress chief G A Mir said the inquiry ordered by the governor was an 'eyewash' while Communist Party of India-Marxist leader M Y Tarigami demanded a judicial enquiry into the lapses.

"How can anyone, who is part of the system, enquire into it," Tarigami asked.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday condemned the killing, saying there is no place for violence in the country.

'Strongly condemn the killing of @BJP4JnK leader Shri Ghulam Mohammed Mir. His contribution towards strengthening the party in J&K will always be remembered,' Modi tweeted.

Extending condolences, he said, 'There is no place for such violence in our country.'

BJP president Amit Shah also condoled the killing and said extremist forces in Kashmir cannot demoralise its workers with violence.

In a tweet, Shah said, 'I am saddened by killing of Ghulam Mohammed Mir, BJP leader from Anantnag. His contribution in strengthening the BJP in the valley was immense.'

'Extremist forces in the valley can't demoralise BJP karyakartas with violence.My condolences with the bereaved family,' Shah tweeted.

Terming the killing of Mir as a 'big loss' for the nation, the Jammu and Kashmir unit of the BJP on Sunday said his sacrifice would not go in vain.

"His killing is a big loss to the nation...he was a brave man who always fought against Pakistani terrorists and till the last breath of his life served the motherland," state BJP president Ravinder Raina said.

He said Mir was known as Atal Bihari Vajpayee of Anantnag and was a great son of mother India.

"The martyrdom of Mir will not go in vain and all those coward Pakistanis (terrorists) will be neutralised very soon," he said and saluted the courage and patriotic zeal of the slain leader.

BJP state spokesperson Brig Anil Gupta said the killing of Mir is not only a dastardly act of terror but a sign of desperation of those forces who are scared of the growing numbers of nationalists in the valley.

"Attack just a couple of days before polling is meant to scare political workers of BJP. Nationalist forces in valley have become strong enough to thwart nefarious designs of those who are against democracy," he said.

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