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IN THE second political killing in south Kashmir in a week, suspected militants on Monday shot dead Abdul Gani Dar, PDP’s Pulwama district president, at Pinglana village in Pulwama.
“Three militants intercepted his vehicle. They forced him out of the vehicle and fired at him,” said Rayees Mohammad Bhat, Superintendent of Police, Pulwama. “He was shot from close range,” he said.
Dar, 64, was rushed to Srinagar hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. No militant outfit has claimed responsibility for the killing so far. While Dar was guarded by Personal Security Officers (PSOs), Bhat said his two PSOs were not armed when the militants intercepted his vehicle.
“They (PSOs) didn’t have any weapons,” he said. Asked if any action had been initiated against these police officials, he said “we are investigating the case”. According to sources, the militants were following Bhat from his home in Rohmoo village of Pulwama. They said the PSOs also suspected that they were being followed and even switched vehicles.
“It was a case of negligence,” said a source. “They had indications that some people were following them. When they reached Pulwama, they changed their vehicle.” But, according to sources, the militants continued to follow them. “The militants were in a Tavera,” said sources. “At Pinglana village, they overtook Dar’s vehicle and blocked the road. They dragged Dar out and shot him in the chest.” Dar, a lawyer by profession, is the senior most PDP leader to be killed by militants so far. He is survived by his wife and son Owais Gani, who is an Inspector in the Jammu & Kashmir Police.
According to sources, suspected militants barged into Dar’s house at Rohmoo village twice in the recent past, and threatened his family. Dar, who was earlier with the Congress, joined the PDP ahead of the 2014 assembly elections. His father, Ghulam Mohammad Dar, was a close associate of former J&K Chief Minister and PDP founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed when the latter was with the Congress. Dar contested the 2008 assembly elections from Rajpora segment of Pulwama on a Congress ticket, but did not win.
PDP sources said Dar played a key role in State Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu’s victory from Rajpora constituency in the 2014 assembly elections. Condemning the killing, PDP chief spokesman Mehboob Beg said: “It is not question of a
PDP leader… Somebody was killed for holding a political view… It is painful. Killings won’t help… We are all sons of the soil. We can differ, have different views. How long can this go on.”
Blaming the coalition government, NC spokesman Junaid Azim Mattoo said: “Dar’s killing is yet another reflection of the alarming situation, thanks to the PDP-BJP government which has plunged the state into total chaos, uncertainty and turmoil.” On April 17, suspected militants killed a National Conference worker, Imtiyaz Ahmad Khan, at Pinjoora village of Shopian in south Kashmir. Khan was also a lawyer and worked as a public prosecutor for the state government.