Another Hurriyat (G) activist shot dead in Sopore
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, June 12: In the second consecutive strike on the separatist hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani's associates in his home constituency of Sopore, unidentified assassins shot dead a young shopkeeper on Friday night.
Official sources, quoting eyewitness accounts, told State Times that two unidentified persons appeared at Bomai, 12 km from Sopore, and shot dead 28-year-old Khursheed Ahmad Bhat son of Ghulam Nabi Bhat, in close vicinity of his home st 8.00 pm. Residents and family members rushed him to hospital where doctors declared him 'brought dead'. According to the doctors, three pistol shots had been pumped into Bhat’s head.
Residents said that Bhat was a known activist of Geelani-led faction of the Hurriyat Conference. Significantly, on Tuesday last, unidentified gunmen had shot dead prominent Hurriyat (Geelani) activist Sheikh Altaf-ur-Rehman close to his residence in Sopore town in broad daylight.
Geelani, as also Hizbul Mujahideen supremo and United Jihad Council chief Syed Salahuddin, had strongly condemned Sheikh's killing and held "Indian secret agencies" responsible for his assassination. Hizb chief even threatened to punish Sheikh’s killers. Geelani called for a protest shutdown in Baramulla district on Wednesday and asked the Kashmiris all over the valley to hold funeral prayers on Friday for the slain separatist activist who had served several terms of detention under Public Safety Act and functioned as a member of the Executive Committee of Geelani's Tehreek-e-Hurriyat. Sheikh’s father, a former militant of Hizbul Mujahideen, is currently Sopore zonal head of Jamaat-e-Islami.
Remarkably, Sheikh’s assassination was the first killing of an anti-India and pro-Pakistan activist in Sopore area in the last several years. All other civilians killed in similar incident of target fire by unidentified gunmen carried the tag of anti - Pakistan and pro-India. Bhat’s killing on Friday comes as the second assassination of its kind. Previously, unidentified gunmen, claiming to be the cadres of a new guerrilla group "Lashkar-e-Islam", carried out several attacks on the civilians who defied the outfit’s diktat of closing down mobile phone networking towers and recharge outlets. Two civilians were killed and five more left injured in these terror attacks.
Meanwhile, during a protest against Sheikh’s killing on Geelani’s call on Friday, masked men waved two Pakistani and one ISIS flag at Jamia Masjid in downtown Srinagar which is the religious seat of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the head of another faction of Hurriyat Conference.