Curfew in Kishtwar, police question PSOs posted with BJP leader Anil Parihar

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With police and other security agencies still struggling to identify the assailants who killed a senior BJP leader and his elder brother in Kishtwar the previous night, this far off hilly town of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday wears a deserted look with army and police moving in strength strictly enforcing the curfew.

Sources said that police have detained two of its own men for questioning, who were posted as personal security officers (PSOs) with the BJP leader, in view of his being on the hit list of terrorists. The PSOs were not accompanying him when gunmen attacked the deceased brothers.

, told that he has been repeatedly requesting politicians to carry along the PSOs deployed with them. However, in the case of deceased Parihar, the PSO deployed with him were not accompanying him, he added.

While the police are tight-lipped over the progress in its investigations, sources said that there were two assailants who likely fled on a motorcycle. They shot both the Parihar brothers in their heads from a close range at Tapal mohalla near their residence and fled the scene. Due to darkness in the area, the killers remain unidentified.

While Anil is survived by his wife and two sons, one studying in class XII and another doing engineering, Ajit is survived by his wife and two children including a daughter who has completed her engineering.

Meanwhile, curfew was imposed after locals came out of their houses in large numbers and pelted stones at the police station assaulting senior police officers including Kishtwar SSP Rajinder Gupta in protest against the killing of the BJP state functionary. Apprehending more trouble in the highly volatile Kishtwar district which has witnessed communal violence in the past, the district magistrate Angrez Singh Rana imposed curfew in Kishtwar town and its surrounding areas as a precautionary measure. In Chatru and Paddar subdivisions, which form part of the hilly district, prohibitory orders banning assembly of four or more people have been imposed under Section 144 of CrPC.

Though there is no communal tension in the district in view of deceased BJP leader having considerable support even among the local Muslims, the authorities do not appear to take chances. The Inspector General of Police, SD Singh Jamwal has been camping in the town supervising the situation.

A Pal of gloom descends Tapal mohalla where both the brothers lived. They were returning home after closing their shop at that time. The killing of a senior party leader comes just over a month ahead of the upcoming panchayat elections in the state scheduled to be held in nine phases beginning November 19.

BJP describes the killing as terror attack saying that there were inputs about a group of terrorists have moved to Kishtwar from adjoining South Kashmir. The deceased leader was on a campaign for panchayat elections in the district, said BJP’s chief spokesperson in the state Sunil Sethi. There are only two terrorists present in the district including the longest surviving Jahangir Saroori and both of them have been inactive since long, said Kishtwar Deputy Commissioner Angrez Singh Rana. Sources said that Saroori by now is in the late 50s.

Meanwhile, protests broke out in various parts including Bhaderwah town, besides Paloura and Janipura areas of Jammu where people blocked the roads. Later, protesters dispersed peacefully with no untoward incident reported from any place.

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