A BJP leader and two members of his family were killed on Wednesday night after militants opened fire at them in Jammu and Kashmir's Bandipora district.
All 10 Personal Security Officers (PSOs) guarding the BJP leader were arrested after the attack for dereliction of duty.
The incident took place at the shop-cum-residence of BJP leader Sheikh Waseem Bari, who was earlier the district president of the party, where some motorcycle-borne terrorists attacked the three from close range with a silencer-fitted revolver, said officials. The place of the incident is barely 10 metres away from the main police station.
Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh said the militants opened fire at the victims outside Bari's shop near Bandipora police station around 9 pm. The trio, including Bari's brother Umar and father Bashir Ahmad, was shifted to the district hospital in a critical condition where they succumbed to their injuries.
"The police have registered a case in this regard under relevant sections of the law and an investigation is in progress," said Singh. "The men deployed for his security are being detained for negligence under the Police Act. The area has been cordoned and search is going on."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi over telephone enquired about the killing and extended his condolences to Bari's family, said Union Minister of State Jitendra Singh in a tweet.
BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav said he was "shocked and saddened" by the killing. "Bari’s father who is also a senior leader was injured. This despite eight security commandos," he added in a tweet.
Shocked and saddened by d killing of young BJP leader Wasim Bari and his brother by terrorists in Bandipora. Bari’s father who is also a senior leader was injured. This despite 8 security commandos. Condolences to d family. pic.twitter.com/hAKnOudaxj— Ram Madhav (@rammadhavbjp) July 8, 2020
BJP National President JP Nadda described it as "a cowardly attack".
"This is a huge loss for the party. My deepest condolences are with the family. The entire party stands with the bereaved family. I assure that their sacrifice will not go in vain," he said in a tweet.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also condemned the attack.
"Sorry to hear about the murderous terror attack on the BJP functionaries and their father in Bandipore earlier this evening," said the National Conference leader in a tweet. "My condolences to their families in this time of grief. Sadly the violent targeting of mainstream political workers continues unabated."
Sorry to hear about the murderous terror attack on the BJP functionaries & their father in Bandipore earlier this evening. I condemn the attack. My condolences to their families in this time of grief. Sadly the violent targeting of mainstream political workers continues unabated.— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) July 8, 2020
Former Bandipore MLA Usman Majid condemned the incident and demanded a through probe into the alleged deteriorating law and order situation in the Kashmir valley.
"How can terrorists comes so close and hit their target, which is barely 10 metres away from the police station in the town?" asked Majid, a founder-leader of the JK Apni Party. He said he would take up the matter with Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir after consultations with his party leadership.
Former MLC and senior BJP leader Surinder Ambardar said, "It is very unfortunate that Pakistan's frustration is visible by destabilising the democratic institutions whereas the BJP has made its visible imprints in the Kashmir valley."
The Congress and the PDP also condemned the incident.
"Distraught at the recurring spate of killing of political workers in Kashmir. While we express our unconditional sympathies with the family, the administration has squarely failed in ensuring adequate security arrangements amid deteriorating security conditions," said the PDP in a tweet.
(With inputs from PTI)