Sajad Khandey, BJP sarpanch shot dead in Kulgam

A day after the first anniversary of abrogation of Article 370, a BJP sarpanch was shot dead in Kulgam district on Thursday, officials said.

They said Sajad Ahmed Khandey was shot at by gunmen outside his residence at Vessu, leaving him critically wounded.

“He was shifted to hospital where doctors declared him brought dead,” an official said.

Soon after the incident, security forces cordoned off the area to trace the attackers.

A police officer said the sarpanch was staying in the Vessu migrant camp along with several sarpanches.

“He left camp on Thursday morning and went to his house at Vessu. Terrorists fired upon him while he was 20 metres away from the house. He is no more,” the officer said.

This is the second attack in less than 36 hours on a BJP panchayat member in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district. On August 4 evening, Arif Ahmad, BJP leader and panchayat member, was critically wounded when militants fired at him near his house at Akhran, Qazigund.

J-K party vice president Sofi Yousuf said Khanday was an active party worker.

Despite strict restrictions in place, the BJP is the only party in Kashmir that ‘celebrated’ the rollback anniversary of Article 370 on Wednesday. The celebrations were confined to the BJP office and a few party workers hoisted Tricolour on the empty streets.

The attack on panchayat members happened at a time when security was beefed up on the anniversary of abrogation of Article 370.

Police said there was an input that panchayat members and political leaders could be targeted around the August 5 anniversary. In view of the threat, a number of panchayat members were moved to safer locations in Kashmir. Police had also issued an advisory to panchayat members asking them to take precautions as they could be targeted by the militants.

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