Cutting across party lines, mainstream political parties on Monday condemned the killing of a Congress sarpanch by militants in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir. Militants shot dead Ajay Pandita, a Kashmiri Pandit, in the Larkipora area in Anantnag at around 6pm, according to news reports.
IANS reported that The Resistance Front, a newly formed group in Kashmir, claimed responsibility for the deed. “No political stooge/collaborator who stands alongside the occupational regime will be spared. Ajay Pandita Sarpanch was one of these political leaders who tarnished the image of Jammu and Kashmir. These are the main reasons of occupational regimes stay on our land the Jammu and Kashmir. No one will be spared who is hand in glove with occupational regime and strengthen their illegal occupation. Innocents won’t be touched, so don’t drag this with religion,” the news agency reported the group’s statement.
“Very sorry to hear about the killing of sarpanch Ajay Pandita in Anantnag earlier this afternoon. I unequivocally condemn this terror attack on a grassroots political worker & pray that his soul rests in peace,” National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said in a tweet.
Very sorry to hear about the killing of sarpanch Ajay Pandita in Anantnag earlier this afternoon. I unequivocally condemn this terror attack on a grassroots political worker & pray that his soul rests in peace.— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) June 8, 2020
The People’s Democratic Party also condemned the killing but trained its guns at the government. “Left in lurch by the system and hounded by those revolting against it, such is the dismal state of political workers. What can someone hope to achieve by silencing those actively serving poor and marginalised? We vehemently condemn such brutal assassination of Mr Ajay Pandita ji,” the PDP tweeted.
Terrible news.Condolences to the family.Shrinking political space in Kashmir has made political party workers all the more vulnerable.They are stuck between punitive actions of a vindictive government & militants on the other end https://t.co/NFvz1lswOA— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) June 8, 2020
The Congress demanded a judicial enquiry into the gruesome incident. “The killing of Ajay Bharti [Pandita] is a mindless and shameful act which needs exemplary punishment against those behind it,” a party spokesman said.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday said violence will never win in Kashmir, as he condoled the death of Pandita.
The Apni Party led by Altaf Bukhari also condemned the killing.
TRF is Pakistan-backed
Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police Dilbag Singh on Monday said Pakistan is trying to revive the Al-Badr terrorist group after floating ‘The Resistance Front’ (TRF) in the recent past as part of efforts to hide its continuous support to terrorism in the Union Territory. However, he said there was no information suggesting the Afghan Taliban joining terrorist activities in the valley.
“We do not have any information suggesting that they [Afghan Taliban] are coming to Jammu and Kashmir [to join terrorist activities]. Basically, Pakistani terrorists are mostly coming to Jammu and Kashmir under the banner of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).”
“Pakistan is trying to revive the Al-Badr terror outfit, which was decimated long back, over the past couple of months after forming the TRF, which we call the ‘Terrorist Revival Front’. They are trying to give it [terrorism] an indigenous colour,” the police chief told reporters. He said most of the people joining the TRF are from the LeT and JeM.
“The TRF terrorists who have been killed in the recent past have turned out to be members of LeT, JeM and Hizbul Mujahideen. We are alive to the conspiracies and attempts of revival are being taken care of,” he said.