SRINAGAR: Unknown gunmen burst into a hospital in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) and killed a regional leader of a Hindu group linked to the ruling party, police said on Tuesday, days before general elections at which security is a major concern.
Authorities imposed an indefinite curfew in the town of Kishtwar, after the killing of Chandrakant Sharma, 48, and a bodyguard.
Sharma was a leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the influential parent organisation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
India's Modi-led alliance closes in on majority, survey shows ahead of vote
“Sharma’s personal security officer died on the spot and he was critically injured,” a senior police officer, Kishtwar Angrez Singh Rana, told Reuters.
He was flown to a hospital at the Government Medical College in Jammu, but succumbed to his injuries, Rana added.
An indefinite curfew was imposed in the town, with more Indian troops deployed to the area to deter sectarian violence, Rana added.
“He was the centre of hope and trust for a patriotic society that is against terrorism,” said Manmohan Vaidya, general secretary of the RSS. “His sudden demise is an irreparable loss for the Hindu community.”
The killing is the second of a Hindu leader in the town since November, when a BJP leader, Anil Parihar, 52, and his brother, Ajeet, 55, were killed. Sharma was a close associate of Parihar.
India begins general elections on Thursday at which the issue of Kashmir looms large after the Pulwama attack suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitary troopers which provoked hostilities between the nuclear-armed neighbours.