Fear And Recoil In Kashmir
India Today|August 24, 2020
Fear And Recoil In Kashmir
Jammu & Kashmir
Moazum Mohammad

It has been over a fortnight that Abdul Ahad has been holed up in a hotel in Gulmarg under high sec­urity. Married just a year ago, the 35­year­old Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker is worried about his family—his elderly parents and wife—back home in Baramulla in north Kashmir. He and several other BJP workers were moved to Gulmarg in July after a targeted attack by militants earlier in the month. Five BJP members have been killed in the past month in north, south and central Kashmir. Abdul Hameed Najar, the district president of the Budgam Other Backward Class Morcha, was only the latest to fall prey to terrorists’ bullets when he suc­cumbed to his injuries on August 10, a day after he was fired at while out on a morning walk. Four days earlier, Sajad Ahmad Khanday, the BJP sarpanch of Vessu village in Kulgam in south Kashmir, was killed. Another BJP panch, Arif Ahmad Shah, was critically wounded in a militant attack in the Akhran area of Kulgam on August 4.

The spate of killings began on July 8, with the brutal murder of Sheikh Waseem Bari, the former district presi­ dent of BJP Bandipora, along with his father Bashir Ahmed and brother Umer Sultan. They were killed at their shop outside their home, which was just a few metres away from the local police station, and despite a security detail of 10 PSOs (personal security officers). A day later, posters asking for the resignations of BJP functionaries appeared all over town. Following the targeted attacks, 17 BJP workers have resigned in the past one month, eight in the 24 hours since Najar was killed. The resignations have been public, accompanied often with photographs and circulated on social media.

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August 24, 2020