Politician Injured in Militant Attack in Kashmir

July 6, 2002
SRINAGAR, India -- Suspected militants tried to shoot dead a pro-India politician in disputed Kashmir on Friday, injuring him but killing one of his associates, police said.

Two militants and a village leader were killed elsewhere in overnight violence in the Himalayan state, AFP reported.

Suspected rebels opened fire at Ghulam Nabi Dar, chairman of the lesser-known pro-India political group Awami Mahaz (people's front), in the congested Tankipora locality of Srinagar, the state's summer capital.

While Dar was injured in the attack, his associate and General Secretary of the Party, Anwar Hussain, died on the spot.

Another Mahaz worker, Habibullah, was also injured.

"The two (injured) have been removed to Srinagar's main hospital," a police officer said.

Dar formed the Mahaz group last year and in 1996 he unsuccessfully contested the state legislative polls from south Kashmir.

Before joining politics he ran a medical shop in the southern Kashmir township of Kulgam.

The hitherto unknown save Kashmir movement has claimed responsibility for the attack, local news agency News And Features Alliance (NAFA) said.

However, police believe the attack has been carried out by the members of Kashmir's dominant group Hizbul Mujahedin.

Muslim rebels have warned action will be taken against those who participate in the upcoming state polls due later this year.

Elsewhere in the state, two Islamic militants and one village head were killed in two separate overnight incidents, an Indian Border Security Force (BSF) spokesman said on Friday.

He said an operation was launched Thursday against a group of militants hiding in Lacha village in Gool area of Udhampur district, 150 kilometers (93 miles) north of Jammu, the state's winter capital.

In the ensuing encounter, two top Pakistani militants were killed while some others managed to escape under the cover of darkness, the spokesman said.

The slain militants have been identified as members of the Harkat-ul-Jehad-Islami, a militant outfit responsible for attacking army camps and other vital installations in the state.

In a separate incident, militants killed a village head in Doda district late Thursday night branding him an "army source".

The area has been cordoned and a search launched to capture the militants.