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RSS leader, PSO killed in militant attack in Kishtwar; curfew imposed

Two days ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in Jammu & Kashmir, suspected militants killed a Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) leader and his personal security officer (PSO) inside a hospital in the Chenab Valley’s Kishtwar district on Tuesday.

Chanderkant Sharma, who worked as a medical assistant at the Kishtwar District Hospital’s out-patient (OPD) department, was shot dead by unknown gunmen who opened indiscriminate fire at him and his PSO around noon in the hospital premises.

The PSO, Rajinder Kumar, died on the spot, while Sharma was shifted to hospital in critical condition and succumbed later.

“Eyewitnesses suggested there were two militants who opened fire at the protected person and fled towards upper reaches of Samna Colony,” said Inspector General of Police (IGP), Jammu, M.K. Sinha.

A curfew was imposed in the Kistwar town and Doda, after demonstrations broke out in Kishtwar, Bhaderwah’s Seri Bazaar and Jammu. Internet services were also stopped as a precautionary measure.

The victim, according to officials, was provided with additional security after suspected militants killed BJP leader Anil Parihar and his brother in similar fashion in Kishtwar on November 1 last year. The police and the BJP top leaders had claimed that militants were behind the assassination of the BJP leader then.

The first phase of polling in J&K will start on April 11 and the Udhampur-Doda seat, including Kishtwar area, will witness elections on April 18.

National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti condemned the killing.

“Unequivocally condemn the brutal murder. There can be no place for targeting political operatives like this. I hope the residents of the area will cooperate with the administration and maintain calm,” said Mr. Abdullah.

Ms. Mufti said she sees the incident as “part of a bigger plan to incite communal tension”. “I urge the Governor to initiate a probe and appeal to people of Kishtwar to maintain peace and harmony,” she said.

Governor Satya Pal Malik and police administration reviewed the safety and security aspects of all the important installations, establishments and public places.


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Printable version | May 24, 2022 5:43:34 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/gunmen-open-fire-at-rss-leader-pso-in-kishtwar/article26779680.ece