Deceased politician was affiliated with Apni Party, believed to be ally of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir (AA) – A member of a party that is believed to be an ally of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was shot dead by suspected militants in Indian-administered Kashmir on Thursday.
Ghulam Hassan Lone, a zonal member of the Apni Party, a Kashmir-based pro-India political party, was shot at and critically injured in Kulgam district, one of the four southern districts at the center of a resurgent armed resistance against the Indian rule. He died in a hospital.
Lone’s assassination is the first for Apni Party since it was founded in March 2020 by a former minister and pesticide magnate, Altaf Bukhari.
Suspected militants have killed more than 20 ethnic Kashmiri Muslim members of the Hindu supremacist BJP since Aug. 5, 2019, when the Indian government scrapped the autonomous status of the Muslim-majority region, according to the BJP.
Army officer, militant killed
A junior commissioned officer (JCO) of the Indian army and a militant were killed in a gunfight in the Thanamandi area of the Rajouri district in Jammu province, about 154 kilometers (95 miles) south of capital Srinagar, police said.
The police said a search operation is underway in the area, while the army paid tributes to the deceased officer, Ram Singh. Unconfirmed reports said two other army personnel were injured in the clash.
Nityanand Rai, India’s minister of state for home affairs, told the Upper House of the Indian parliament on Aug. 4 that at least 630 militants have been killed between May 2018 and June 2021 in Jammu and Kashmir. During this period, 85 Indian forces were also killed in about 400 gunfights, he added.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, New Delhi and Islamabad have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965, and 1971 – two of them over Kashmir.
Also, in the Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire took effect in 2003.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
According to several human rights organizations, thousands have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989.