Political Activist Killed, PDP, Cong Locked In Row  

Srinagar—A political activist was killed in an attack by gunmen on Wednesday in Pulwama district in south Kashmir, officials said, but the ruling PDP and opposition Congress were locked in a row over the party affiliation of the victim.

Ghulam Nabi Patail, a resident of Shadimarg area in Pulwama, succumbed to injuries while being taken to a hospital after the attack in Rajpora Chowk area which also left two policemen injured.

As political parties promptly condemned the killing. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti described Patail as a senior Congress leader while the Congress said he was a “well-known PDP activist”.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah waded into the row, saying if neither PDP nor Congress was willing to own Patail as one of their own, he could be called an NC worker.

The Congress and the PDP were not keen on owning the killed leader as their own to avoid conveying to their workers that they were at risk, Abdullah, a former chief minister claimed.

Giving details of the attack, a police officer said three persons were injured when militants opened fire in the Rajpora Chowk area. One of the injured, a political activist identified as Ghulam Nabi Patail, resident of Shadimarg area, succumbed to injuries while being taken to a hospital, he added.

The other two injured, both policemen, were being treated upon at a hospital and their condition was said to be stable, the police official said.

Security forces have cordoned off the area and a hunt has been launched to nab the attackers, he said.

Patail had contested the 2002 J&K assembly elections on a Congress ticket but switched over to Socialist Democratic Party in 2008 assembly elections. He did not contest the 2014 state polls.

Heartfelt condolences to the family of senior Congress leader, G. N. Patel who was killed by militants today in Rajpora. Such cowardly acts achieve nothing but leave one more family devastated (sic), Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is also the president of PDP, tweeted.

A Congress party spokesperson, while strongly condemning the killing, said in a statement Patail was a “well-known PDP activist.

In a statement, Mohd Anwar Bhat, vice president of the state’s Congress unit, said the killings, in any form, were highly condemnable and must be condemned by every section of the people. He offered deepest condolences to the bereaved family.

What terrible news to start the day with here. My heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased & prayers for the injured. Allah Jannat naseeb karay, Omar Abdullah tweeted.

How tragic that Patel Sahib, a political worker assassinated by militants in Kashmir, is being disowned by both the PDP & Congress. If neither party is willing to own him as one of their own let’s just call him a NC worker so his death is not in vain(sic), he added in another tweet.

The former chief minister said Patail was being denied the dignity of having been killed for his political affiliations so that the PDP and Congress can lie to their workers to claim they were not at risk.

“Ghulam Nabi Patail is being denied the dignity of having been assassinated for belonging to a political party just so the PDP & Congress can lie to their workers to claim they aren’t at risk from militant bullets, Abdullah said in another tweet.

Family Surprised Over CM’s Statement 

Family of Ghulam Nabi Patel, who was killed by unidentified gunmen at Rajpora Pulwama on Wednesday, expressed “surprise” over PDP president and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s statement for “disowning” him by calling him a Congress activist.

“He (Gulam Nabi Patel) vigorously campaigned for PDP’s senior leader Dr Haseeb Drabu (to see him getting elected to legislative assembly from Rajpora constituency),” said Ali Mohammad, brother Gulam Nabi who was killed by unidentified gunmen at Rajpora on Wednesday afternoon.

“It has come as a shock and surprise to us that he has been disowned by PDP and the statement of disowning him has come none other than party president and chief minister of the state Mehbooba Mufti,” Ali Mohammad told GNS.

Ali Mohammad also stated that it would be premature to blame militants for killing his brother. He hastily added that a fear investigation would reveal as to who killed his brother.

The gunmen fired at Rajpora Chowk upon the vehicle (Scorpio JK01M- 0099) in which Ghulam Nabi Patel was travelling.

In the incident, two policemen guarding the activist received bullet wounds. However, another cop present inside the vehicle was unhurt.

The injured cops have been identified as Imtiyaz Ahmad Zargar and Bilal Ahmad Mir.

Patil, a resident of Dangerpora Shadimarg later succumbed to injuries on the way to hospital.

A police officer confirmed the incident and said that a hunt has been launched to nab the assailants.

According to local sources, Patel was associated with Congress and had joined ruling PDP later. Interesting, the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is also president of PDP, referred to Patel as ‘Congress” activist while condemning his killing.

J&K Congress chief G A Mir, on the other hand, called him ‘PDP’ activist. Former Chief Minister and National Conference working president Omar Abdullah criticized the PDP and Congress for what he said disowning Patel, saying: “just call him NC worker so his death is not in vain”.  

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