Conflicts & War

Pro-India politician from Modi’s BJP shot dead in Kashmir

Srinagar, India, June 3 (EFE).- Gunmen have shot dead a local politician of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the disputed Kashmir region, police said on Thursday.

The gunmen attacked Rakesh Pandita late on Wednesday in Tral town of south Kashmir, some 50 km (nearly 30 miles) from the main city of Srinagar.

The police blamed separatist rebels for the attack. It took place when the politician, an elected local body representative, was visiting a friend.

“Three militants fired indiscriminately at Pandita who was visiting his friend in Tral,” police said in a statement.

Rakesh and the daughter of his friend Asifa received gunshot wounds.

The girl was battling for life in a hospital.

Police said the deceased was a protected person and lived at a secured accommodation in Srinagar.

“However, at the time of the incident, he was without any security as he defied the standard operating procedure and went to his native village without (police) guards.”

Last year, suspected militants targeted members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP, killing a few of them in the troubled region.

Among those killed were a top BJP politician and his father and brother, also party members.

In a separate incident in Tral, police shot dead a suspected ex-militant after he allegedly snatched a rifle from a cop during his questioning.

A police officer told EFE on the condition of anonymity that Amin Malik, a resident, was called for questioning at security camp.

The officer said police arrested Amin on May 30 and recovered nine cell phones and “other warlike stores” from him.

During his interrogation, Amin snatched the rifle from a cop and shot at him.

The man locked himself up in a room inside the camp before police shot him dead on Thursday morning.

Amin, 38, was a former militant. Police arrested him in 2003 and set him free after three years in jail.

His mother Mughli told reporters that the police came looking for her son a few days ago.

The father of two then went to a police station where he was detained and beaten, she alleged.

His younger brother, Shabir, also a militant, was killed by security forces in 2019.

The idyllic Himalayan region of Kashmir has been a disputed region since 1947 when India and Pakistan won their freedom from British rule.

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