Team of 6-7 Hizbul men behind Kishtwar killings : Intel

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BJP’s J&K state secretary Anil Parihar was possibly killed in Kishtwar as part of a ‘desperate’ attempt by Kashmiri militants, suspected to be from Hizbul Mujahideen, to unleash an impactful attack in the otherwise calm district after having failed to strike in the valley due to the tight security arrangements for panchayat polls, according to sources in the security establishment.

Intelligence officials said while the assailants of Parihar and his brother were still being identified and traced, the modus operandi and weapons used in the attack point to the involvement of local militants, who were possibly assisted and facilitated by overground workers.

“Preliminary inquiry suggests that 6-7 Hizbul militants had been camping in Kishtwar for past few days. It is a matter of investigation whether they were in Kishtwar to escape the pressure they may be facing in Kashmir due to higher surveillance and deployment of security forces there, or if they had come on a specific mission to kill Parihar.

While we are adequately convinced that it was a terror attack and not borne out of any personal vendetta, we are still trying to establish the motive that could be anything from targeting a senior BJP leader to an attempt to divert focus of security forces from Kashmir region to creating a fear psychosis ahead of panchayat polls in J&K,” said an officer.

The officer hinted at the possibility of Hizbul Mujahideen, facing pressure from its Pakistan-based masters to unleash a big attack to upset panchayat polls in Kashmir, choosing targets in areas like ‘Kishtwar’ that are not the main focus of security forces deployed in the state.

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