Senior Hurriyat Conference leader Abdul Gani Lone was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Srinagar, India-controlled Kashmir, Tuesday evening, a day ahead of the visit of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to the city.
One of Lone's gunmen Mushtaq Ahmed was also killed and another injured when the assailants in police uniform opened fire during arally to mark the 12th death anniversary of former Mirwaiz of Kashmir Maulvi Mohammad Farooq, father of senior Hurriyat leader Umar Farooq, at Idgah ground in old Srinagar city.
Seventy-year-old Lone was rushed to the Soura Medical Institutewhere he was declared "brought dead." The assailants also lobbed agrenade which failed to explode, local police said.
At least seven people were injured in the attack, which took place as the ceremony was about to end at 6.15 p.m.
Hurriyat Chairman Abdul Gani Bhat, who was present at the rally,said he was escorting Lone at the conclusion of the ceremony but missed him due to pressure of crowds.
Shortly thereafter, he said, he heard sound of gun shots and later realized that Lone had been shot at along with his gunmen.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
A founder and Executive Committee member of the 23-party Hurriyat, Lone was a critic of "Jehadi" and foreign mercenaries and indicated desire for holding talks with the government for resolution of the Kashmir issue.
(Xinhua News Agency May 22, 2002)