New Delhi: A day after 40-year-old Ajay Pandita, a Kashmiri Pandit sarpanch (head of village) was shot dead by terrorists in south Kashmir, his family on Tuesday said that they are pained that he was shot in the back, adding, however, that despite this, they will not leave their native place. Also Read - Jammu and Kashmir: Four Terrorists Killed in an Encounter With Security Forces in Anantnag

Speaking to media today, his father Dwarika Nath Pandit said, “I’m pained that terrorists shot my son at his back. He has two daughters, who even after this incident have said that they will not leave their native place.” Also Read - J&K: 2 Killed in Another Grenade Attack in Anantnag; 3 Injured Outside Kashmir University in Srinagar

Notably, Pandita, who was affiliated with the Congress, was shot at by terrorists at around 6 PM in Anantnag. He was taken to a hospital following the incident, but couldn’t be saved. The sarpanch of Lukbawan village in Larkipora, he was shot at while he was in his orchard.

The Resistance Front (TRF), a newly-formed terrorist group, has taken responsibility for the killing. The police and the army have, meanwhile, launched a manhunt to nab the killers.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “My condolences to the family and friends of Ajay Pandita, who sacrificed his life for the democratic process in Kashmir. We stand with you in this time of grief. Violence will never win.”

The killing of the sarpanch was also condemned by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Iltija Mufti, the daughter of detained former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is now handling her Twitter account.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Jitendra Singh, who is from Jammu and Kashmir, said, ““It is a desperate attempt by anti-national elements to defeat the process of grassroots democracy, which is sought to be established in Jammu and Kashmir for the first time at the instance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”