SRINAGAR: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the killing of a party leader who was shot dead by unknown gunmen in restive south Kashmir last night.

Gul Mohammad Mir, 60, the BJP's district vice-president for Anantnag, was shot by suspected militants who barged into his home in south Kashmir's Verinag. Family sources said he was rushed to hospital where doctors declared him brought dead.

Sofi Yusuf, who is also the party's candidate for the Anantnag parliamentary constituency which goes to polls on Monday, said the case must be probed by the CBI and those involved must be punished sternly.

The government had withdrawn the security of Mir in February this year along with dozens of political leaders and activists following a review of threat perception which was carried out by the Jammu and Kashmir Police and other security agencies.

“It (killing of Mir) is a conspiracy. I was winning the election from Anantnag but the killing has sparked fear. We are going to meet the Prime Minister and request him to order a CBI probe into the killing,” Yusuf told The Citizen.

According to reports, Mir’s four security guards were withdrawn after the fresh threat assessment. Yusuf said Mir’s security cover was removed despite the fact that he was targeted by militants in September last year.

“Militants had barged into his home and when they didn’t find him there, they beat up the inmates and also vandalised the house. It is the failure of the state administration and we demand a CBI probe into his killing,” Yusuf said.

“This is absolutely the failure of the government. The Dash Bakt (patriotic) people are not provided the security and there seems to be a conspiracy as the Sofi Yousuf was winning (the parliamentary polls being conducted in three phases with last phase of voting in Shopian and Pulwama on Monday),” he said, adding, “We will meet Prime Minister in New Delhi and demand a CBI probe.”

Popularly known as Atal, after the BJP’s patriarch Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mir had unsuccessfully contested on the saffron ticket from Dooru assembly constituency of south Kashmir in 2008 and 2014. Yusuf said he was associated with the BJP for more than a decade.

The BJP’s state spokesperson Altaf Thakur that the withdrawal of security had made Mir vulnerable. “He spoke with me about the issue of security withdrawal. He was very worried about his and family’s safety,” Thakur said.

The regional mainstream leaders including the National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti condemned the killing which took place barely 36 hours ahead of the last leg of election for Anantnag parliamentary constituency.

The first two phases of polling in the constituency has been marred by low voter turnout and sporadic incidents of violence. The volatile Shopian and Pulwama districts will go to polls on Monday amid heightened security arrangements.