India: Suspected Militants Assassinate Kashmiri Politician

Amin Masoodi
Srinagar, India
2017-04-24
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170424-IN-kashmir-620.jpg Kashmiri students clash with Indian security forces in Lal Chowk, Srinagar, during an anti-India demonstration, April 24, 2017.
AFP

Suspected militants gunned down a senior political leader in Indian Kashmir on Monday amid growing violence against government officials and security personnel in the insurgency-torn region, police said.

Abdul Gani Dar, the Pulwama district president of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir state, was on his way to Srinagar when two assailants on a motorbike intercepted his vehicle, dragged him out and fired several shots at his chest, authorities said.

“The militants dragged him out of the vehicle at gun point and shot him from point-blank range,” Rayees Mohammad Bhat, Pulwama’s superintendent of police, told BenarNews, adding that attackers were operatives of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Pakistan-based militant outfit.

Two unarmed police officers were accompanying Dar, 50, when the shooting occurred, according to the superintendent.

“A massive manhunt has been launched to nab the suspects who fled after the attack. We are hopeful of a breakthrough soon,” he said.

Nazir Chowdary, medical superintendent of Srinagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital, said Dar had died by the time he was brought to the hospital.

“He had received several bullets to his chest and heart,” Chowdary told BenarNews.

The attack came hours after Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi to discuss the security situation in the disputed Himalayan region.

Claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan, Kashmir has been grappling with a separatist-insurgency that has claimed over 70,000 lives since the late 1980s.

Over the past few weeks, suspected militants have intensified attacks on Indian political leaders and security forces in Indian Kashmir, which has been rocked by street clashes between anti-India protesters and government forces since the killing of a top separatist leader in July last year.

Last week, suspected militants shot dead Imtiyaz Ahmed, a former public prosecutor and leader of the state’s principal opposition party, the National Conference, outside his house in Shopian district.

Farooq Abdrabi, the state’s Minister for Hajj and Auqaf, survived an attack by suspected militants in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district in March. Two policemen escorting the minister were wounded in the assault.

“It is inevitable to hold a dialogue at the earliest with all stake holders to restore peace in the region. A conducive atmosphere is a must for talks and for governance,” Chief Minister Mufti told reporters after meeting with Modi, according to the Press Trust of India.

“Mr. Modi has reassured me that he would follow former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s policy of reconciliation to resolve the Kashmir issue,” she said.

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