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SFs given free hand to bring perpetrators to justice: LG

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SRINAGAR: The Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha on Sunday strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Shopian and Pahalgam, saying that free hand has been given to the Security Forces (SFs) to bring the perpetrators to justice.
He said Jammu and Kashmir Police, Army and Security Forces will hunt down the terrorists and those aiding and abetting them.

Ex-Sarpanch killed in Shopian, BJP protests

Srinagar: Terrorists struck at two places in Kashmir on Saturday night, killing a former sarpanch in Shopian and injuring a tourist couple from Rajasthan in Anantnag, two days ahead of Lok Sabha elections in Baramulla.
The first attack took place on an open tourist camp near Pahalgam and the second on the former sarpanch at Hirpora in south Kashmir, officials said
“Terrorists fired upon and injured a woman, Farha, a resident of Jaipur (in Rajasthan) and her spouse Tabrez at Yannar in Anantnag. The injured were evacuated to a hospital for treatment. The area has been cordoned off. Further details shall follow,” the Kashmir Zone Police posted on X.
In another attack, within half-an-hour, terrorists shot dead former sarpanch Aijaz Sheikh in Shopian’s Hirpora around 10.30 pm, the officials said. Sheikh, who was associated with the BJP, was rushed to a hospital where he succumbed to injuries, they said.
The areas in Anantnag and Shopian have been cordoned off and search operations have been launched to nab the attackers, the officials said.
The back-to-back attacks come at a time when campaigning for the parliamentary polls in the Anantnag-Rajouri seat is going on. Polling in Baramulla will be held on May 20 in the fifth round of the seven-phase general elections.
The BJP held a protest against the murder of party worker and former sarpanch Aijaz Ahmad Sheikh in Shopian and accused the Jammu and Kashmir civil administration of ignoring its requests for security to some key functionaries facing terror threats.
BJP workers gathered outside the ‘mini secretariat’ in Shopain and raised slogans against the district administration for not providing safe accommodation to vulnerable party leaders and workers.
One of the protesters said, “We have been requesting the Deputy Commissioner for a year to provide safe accommodation to our leaders and workers but he has been delaying. Now we have lost one worker.”
Altaf Thakur, a party spokesperson, said there was a lapse on part of the district administration at some level.
“Terrorism will not be allowed to raise its ugly head in Kashmir again but there has been a lapse on the administration’s part as well. The responsibility for Aijaz’s martyrdom lies with the deputy commissioner,” he told PTI Videos.
“Sometime ago, we had written to the deputy commissioner that Aijaz was getting threat calls but he ignored it,” Thakur added.
The BJP in a statement said, “We strongly condemn the killing of ex-sarpanch Aijaz Ahmad Sheikh in Hirpora, Shopian, South Kashmir, by terrorists today.”
“Aijaz Ahmad was a brave soldier of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP firmly stands with the family of Aijaz Ahmad, who lost his life in this terror attack,” it said.
Meanwhile, neighbours and relatives visited Sheikh’s family at Hirpora in Shopian and offered their condolences.
Sheikh is survived by his mother, his widow Shabnam Kausar and their three children, including a two-month-old daughter.
Kausar said Sheikh worked for the area’s development and made people aware of schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
“I want to ask him (the assailant) what my husband had done to him? Did he take his property that he murdered him? He made my three children orphans and me destitute. May Allah do the same to his (family),” she said.
Kausar said the assailant knocked on the door of their home late on Saturday and asked for her husband.
“I was preparing the feeder for my infant daughter when he came to the door. The moment my husband confirmed that he was Aijaz, the assailant fired seven to eight shots before fleeing,” she added.
Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, including the National Conference, PDP and the BJP, condemned the attacks.
Polling for the seat was scheduled to be conducted on May 7 but was deferred after few political parties in Jammu and Kashmir raised concerns over weather conditions. Polling will now being held on May 25.
National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and vice president Omar Abdullah also condemned the terror attacks.

In a statement, the Lieutenant Governor said “I am deeply shocked at the terrorist attack and the brutal killing of former Sarpanch, Aijaz Ahmad Sheikh. He was an exemplary grassroots leader and will be remembered for his selfless service to the people. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and admirers. We stand in solidarity with the family at this difficult hour. The heinous attack on tourists at Pahalgam is also distressing. I have already instructed the Administrative and Police officials to provide the best possible treatment to the injured couple. Praying for their speedy recovery. The government has given free hand to the J&K Police and Security Forces to crush terrorists and their associates. I have complete faith in the bravery of our personnel and the perpetrators of this attack will be punished soon. Our security forces will also hunt down those elements, who are helping the terrorists and trying to disrupt J&K’s developmental journey.”

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