‘Insecure’ politicians from South Kashmir take refuge in Srinagar

Spot Visuals from Pulwama's Rajpora where terrorists fired upon and killed former PDP leader Ghulam Nabi Patel. ANI photo.
Highlights: 
Militants shot dead Ghulam Nabi Patel in Rajpora, Pulwama, despite the 65-year-old politician having two security guards accompanying him.
Militants have released videos of political workers, pleading with them to spare their lives.

The killing of a former worker of ruling PDP in volatile Pulwama district on Wednesday has sent shock waves among workers of mainstream political parties in south Kashmir with most of them heading towards Srinagar take refuge.

Militants shot dead Ghulam Nabi Patel in Rajpora, Pulwama, despite the 65-year-old politician having two security guards accompanying him. Just a few hours later politics of dissociation followed over his death which has left lower rung political workers stunned in Kashmir. Barely minutes after the news about his killing spread both Peoples Democratic Party and Congress disowned him.

“Local militants know everything about us and we can’t lie or presume they are ignorant. The irony is that even after going against the popular sentiment, political parties disown us if we are killed,” said a Congress activist, who arrived in Srinagar from the south on Thursday. “Giving us one or two security guards won’t save us from the wrath of militants.”

The common demand of workers heading to Srinagar from south Kashmir is to get accommodation in the city. “In the last two years, several middle rung leaders have been killed by militants, especially in south Kashmir. After every killing, the government assures us that our security will be enhanced and we will be provided government accommodation in safer places. But after few days, the promise is forgotten,” he rued.

In November last year, a youth BJP leader was killed by the militants by slitting his throat in neighbouring Shopian district. In another incident in the same district, a former sarpanch was killed earlier and later his house was burnt by a mob led by militants.

Many a time the militants have released videos of political workers, pleading with them to spare their lives and distancing themselves from pro-India political parties. On 15 March, a personal security officer of a BJP activist was injured when militants fired at him on Srinagar outskirts, which the police later described as a “failed attempt” to snatch his service rifle.

After the attack, the BJP had demanded security cover for its 31 activists in Kashmir. Details about these 31 persons, including eight top and 25 middle-rung leaders, all of them Kashmiris, had been provided to the police by the party.

The number of locals joining militant ranks in south Kashmir has seen a steep rise in the recent years. This is leading to a sense of insecurity among those participating in mainstream political activities at the ground level.

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‘Insecure’ politicians from South Kashmir take refuge in Srinagar

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