NEW DELHI: The terrorist killings of two councillors of the Sopore Municipal Council and a Special Police Officer (SPO) in Sopore on Monday has made it clear that the chain of political killings is continuing in Kashmir.

The Resistance Front (TRF), which according to the Police and security forces, is a front for the Pakistan-based jihadi outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, claimed responsibility for the attacks. The Sopore strike is the first terror strike after the recent agreement over the truce on the LoC and the International Border between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir and a thaw in relations between the two countries.

The police and security forces had not made any security arrangement to protect the vulnerable councillors at Sopore who have contested elections in defiance of the terrorist diktats and strengthened the Indian democratic system and polity in Jammu and Kashmir.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Rasool Kar’s daughter, Massarat, who is a protected councillor, had written a letter to Executive Officer Sameer Ahmad on March 26, seeking necessary security arrangements for the meeting venue on March 29. The Police and the security forces did not perceive any threat to the councillors, mainly because of the exchange of positive notes between New Delhi and Islamabad since February 29.

The meeting started as usual in the meeting hall of Sopore Municipal Council on the first floor of a commercial complex belonging to the slain Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Minister Ghulam Nabi Lone’s family near Sub District Hospital on Sopore-Kupwara Road. The complex is highly vulnerable to a terrorist attack. It has a large number of shops, private business offices, pharmacies and clinics on its three floors.

According to the Executive Officer, one unidentified gunman was spotted firing on the councillors when 18 of them were in the 21st minute of the meeting. Independent councillors Riyaz Ahmad Peer and his father-in-law/maternal uncle Shamsuddin Peer were fatally hit. One died on the spot and another on Tuesday at the hospital. With this, a lady councillor lost her husband as well as her father.

One PSO of Massarat Kar rushed upstairs but he too was gunned down before the attackers made good their escape.

TRF referred to the slain councillors as “RSS henchmen masquerading as councillors” to justify its attack on non-combatant civilians and the people’s elected representatives. Neither of them though had joined the BJP or RSS.