Srinagar: Unidentified gunmen on Thursday shot dead a prominent lawyer and a well-known television debater inside his home in Srinagar, sending shock waves in this capital city.
Around 6:15 pm on Thursday, unidentified gunmen, believed to be two in number entered Hawal residence of Advocate Babar Qadri and fired shots at him from point blank range, a police official said. Qadri sustained critical injuries in the attack while the gunmen managed to flee from the spot.
The official said that Qadri was removed by his family and neighbors to nearby SK Institute of medical sciences (SKIMS) for treatment. However, the doctors there pronounced him dead on arrival.
“The bullet had hit his arm, neck and head and he was brought dead to hospital,” SKIMS Medical Superintendent Dr Farooq Jan told Kashmir Observer.
Srinagar Superintendent of Police Haseeb Mughal said police teams had been sent to the location where the attack took place and a manhunt launched to find the assailants.
According to the reports, police and CRPF laid a siege around Zahidpora, Madin Sahab and adjoining localities of Hawal after the attack.
Qadri, originally from Tangmarg in Baramulla district, had been practicing law at Kashmir High Court for more than a decade. Besides an advocate, Qadri was a vocal panelist and TV debater. He is survived by his parents, three siblings, wife and two daughters.
Qadri, who was a student activist, became well-known for taking up cases of juveniles booked under various laws, including the controversial Public Safety Act (PSA).
He was often seen on national channels debating Kashmir. He was vocal on Kashmir affairs and often at loggerheads with other panelists.
Three days earlier, he had in his last Tweet urged the police in Jammu to register an FIR against a Facebook user for launching a “wrong campaign” against him.
Just hours before his death, the lawyer, during a Facebook live, had said that he had been receiving intimidating messages.
Hundreds of people participated in the funeral prayers of Qadri on Thursday evening amidst pro-Islam sloganeering. Amid sobs and cries, his body was taken to his ancestral graveyard in Tangmarg.
Meanwhile, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and National Conference (NC) vice president, Omar Abdullah in a tweet condemned his killing and termed it as tragic. He said that the sense of tragedy is all the more because he warned of the threat.
“Sadly his warning was his last tweet,” Omar tweeted.
Former minister and Peoples Conference president, Sajad Gani Lone in a tweet said that one more Kashmiri falls to bullets.
“Sad news. Advocate Babar Qadri assassinated. One more Kashmiri falls to bullets. Yet another victim of conflict. My thoughts with the family,” Lone Tweeted.
The People Democratic Party (PDP) also took to Twitter to condemn the killing.
“Mournings are a constant feature in every Kashmiris life. Vehemently condemn the assassination of Babar Qadri,”
Noted Human rights activists Khurram Parvez also expressed his grief and sorrow over the assassination of young lawyer.
“In this hour of grief, we at @apdp_jkccs & @jkccs_ stand by the family of Adv. Babar Qadri. Tragic times refuse to end for Kashmiri families,” Parvez Tweeted.
Apni Party vice president Ghulam Hassan Mir also condemned the killing .
“The killing of a young and promising lawyer who represented members of the poorest, most marginalized parts of Kashmir at all the forums available to him, including many of the victims of conflict and their families, has a devastating impact on access to justice in Kashmir,” he said in a statement.
Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) strongly condemned the killing of Qadri and urged the government to ascertain the identity of killers for exemplary punishment.
Describing the killing of Qadri as an unfortunate, shocking and cowardly act, JKPCC spokesperson has expressed anguish over this unfortunate and highly condemnable incident and urged the government to take effective measures to put an end to the bloodshed in Kashmir.
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