By Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, October 30 (Reuters) – Activists gunned down three young workers from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party in Kashmir on Thursday evening, days after his government changed laws allowing people from the rest of the country to buy land in the disputed region.
Many Kashmiris have been simmering anger since Modi’s nationalist government last year overturned decades-old autonomy in India’s only Muslim-majority region, then detained several local political leaders to quell dissent. The government says it is trying to better integrate Kashmir with the rest of the country and make laws uniform across all states, although militants in response have stepped up attacks on Kashmiri members of the Bharatiya Bharatiya Janata (BJP) party of Modi. Police chief Vijay Kumar told Reuters a hunt had been launched for militants who killed BJP workers on Thursday evening in the southern district of Kulgam region.
The BJP said on Twitter that “those responsible for it will not be spared,” while Modi condemned the killings.
“They were bright young people doing a great job at J&K,” he said of the Federal Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
“My thoughts are with their families at this time of mourning. May their souls rest in peace.”
Earlier this year, five other BJP workers were killed in Kashmir, prompting police to move hundreds of village leaders close to the party to high security areas.
The mountainous region of Kashmir is ruled by India and Pakistan in parts, but both fully claim it.