LeT pre-planned BJP leader Wasim Bari’s killing: Kashmir IGP Vijay Kumar

Two militants involved in the attack have been identified, he adds

July 09, 2020 12:46 pm | Updated 07:05 pm IST - Srinagar

The residence of BJP leader Wasim Bari.

The residence of BJP leader Wasim Bari.

The killing of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and district president Wasim Bari and his two family members was a pre-planned attack by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants, said Inspector General of Police (IGP)-Kashmir Vijay Kumar, in a press briefing on Thursday morning.

“Two militants involved in the attack have been identified. They are Abid, a local, and a foreigner terrorist from Pakistan. It was a pre-planned attack of the LeT,” Mr. Kumar said.

CCTV footage from a police station situated just opposite Wari’s house had captured the incident that took place in the Muslimabad area on Wednesday evening, he said.

“Bari had gone to see his relatives. When he returned home [on Wednesday evening], his Special Police Officers (SPO) retired to their rest room. He had joined his father and brother at their shop when the militants attacked. If the two SPOs had been accompanying him, they [the SPOs] would have neutralised them [the militants],” IGP Kumar said.

The police suspect that Wari’s movements had been watched throughout the day. “One terrorist opened fire from a pistol on Bari and his brother and father from a close range, hitting their vitals. The other terrorist was maintaining a vigil nearby,” IGP Kumar said.

The IGP said the police would track the militants and “neutralise them”.

All three men were declared dead at a local hospital.

“All those who have a security threat, whether a political worker or an elected representative like a sarpanch or panch, can approach the local Superintendent of Police for security cover,” Mr. Kumar stated.

All 10 PSOs guarding the BJP leader have been suspended. “They [the PSOs] have been suspended for their negligence and their services will be terminated,” the IGP said. The PSOs are also being questioned, he said.

The Resistance Front (TRF), a recently-floated militant outfit, claimed responsibility for the attack on social media platforms and warned of more attacks. The police did not confirm the claim.

In June, Ajay Pandita, a Pandit sarpanch, was killed in Anantnag by militants.

Regional political parties, including the National Conference (NC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference (PC) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist condemned the attack on Wari.

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor G. C. Murmu said, “The barbaric act of killing innocent people is against humanity and the perpetrators of this cowardly act shall be brought to justice.”

The attack has instilled fear among political leaders in J&K.

“Political process in violence-hit Kashmir is itself a difficult task. Activists cutting across political lines are risking their lives and doing their bit to strengthen the peace process. There should be immediate review of security cover for all political activists, including those whose security cover has been withdrawn recently,” J&K Apni Party chief Altaf Bukhari said.

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