SRINAGAR: The killing of a BJP leader in south Kashmir has sparked off a controversy with Governor Satya Pal Malik on Sunday ordering an inquiry headed by state chief secretary B V R Subrahmanyam to "identify lapses" while political parties accusing the top bureaucrat of creating a chaotic situation by withdrawing security of political activists.
Condoling the death of Gul Mohammed Mir, 57, the BJP leader who unsuccessfully contested on the party ticket in 2008 and 2014 assembly elections from Dooru in South Kashmir, Malik asked the chief secretary to identify any lapses on part of the security agencies in ensuring security of political activists, an official spokesman said.
The governor has called for an emergency meeting on Monday, when government offices will reopen in summer capital of Srinagar after the bi-annual 'Darbar move', during which he will review the safety and security aspects of all political leaders and sarpanches in the state, he said.
Malik directed the chief secretary to get an inquiry conducted into the killings of political leaders belonging to various parties in the state in the last few months.
Militants, besides fighting the security forces, target political or social activists in the state. The ultras killed a senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) functionary Chanderkant Sharma and his Personal Security Officer (PSO) Rajinder Kumar at the District Hospital in Kishtwar on April 9. Similarly, a panch, Abdul Majeed Dar, from Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir was shot dead by militants at his residence on April 4.
On March 14, a political worker associated with the National Conference (NC) -- Mohammad Ismail Wani -- was shot at and injured by suspected militants in Anantnag district.
On March 30, suspected militants shot dead social activist Arjumand Majid Bhat in Baramulla district
Mir, whose affidavit shows his age as 52 in 2014 assembly elections, was shot dead Saturday night outside his residence at Nowgam in the Verinag area of South Kashmir.
He was shifted to a hospital in a critical condition, but the doctors there declared him brought dead.
His son, Zahoor Ahmed Mir, said his father's security was withdrawn two months ago and all efforts to get it back had fallen on deaf ears.
"I had given a letter of the BJP leaders to SSP Anantnag but he expressed his helplessness and directed me to see Munir Khan (Additional Director General of Police in charge of security)," he said.
Security of political activists, including the elder Mir, was withdrawn on the orders of the chief secretary in February despite opposition from security agencies, officials said.
The security agencies had suggested that no security should be withdrawn until the election process is completed.
However, the chief secretary ordered reconstitution of the screening committee and removed police officials from it and appointed state home secretary Shaleen Kabra as its chairman, a move that has come under criticism.
Former chief minister and National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah, while taking a potshot at the chief secretary, said withdrawing security of political activists was a "foolih decision".
"Questions need to be asked but they can't be answered by the person who was responsible for the actual order to withdraw security. The security withdrawal had been opposed by state and central intelligence agencies so who overruled them and went ahead regardless?," he tweeted.
"Not long ago senior BJP leaders were bragging about how undeserving people had their security withdrawn in J&K. I'd warned against the decision then and yesterday's assassination of Gul Mohd Mir only confirms what I'd feared - it was a foolish decision disconnected from reality,"Abdullah said.
Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress chief G A Mir said the inquiry ordered by the governor was an "eyewash" while CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami demanded a judicial enquiry into the lapses.
"How can anyone, who is part of the system, enquire into it," Tarigami asked.