Militants shot dead three young workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Kashmir late on Thursday, days after the Union government changed laws allowing people from the rest of the country to buy land in the region.
Many Kashmiris have been simmering with anger since PM Narendra Modi’s government last year annulled Kashmir’s decades-old autonomy and then detained several local political leaders to suppress dissent.
The government says it is trying to better integrate Kashmir with the rest of the country and make laws uniform across states, though militants have, in response, stepped up attacks on Kashmiri members of the BJP.
Kashmir Police Chief Vijay Kumar said that a hunt had been launched for the militants who killed the BJP workers on Thursday evening in the region’s southern district of Kulgam.
The BJP said on Twitter that “those who are responsible for this will not be spared”, while Modi condemned the killings.
“They were bright youngsters doing excellent work in J&K,” he said.
“My thoughts are with their families in this time of grief. May their souls rest in peace.”
Earlier this year, five other BJP workers were killed in Kashmir, prompting the police to move hundreds of village leaders who are close to the party to high-security zones.