Militants kill political activist in Sopore

A political activist was shot dead by unidentified militants in north Kashmir’s Sopore town on Wednesday morning.

Police said 45-year-old Kifayat Hussain was killed in the morning in the Shankergund area of volatile Sopore town, 55 km from here.

Sopore Superintendent of Police (SP) Imtiyaz Hussain said around 10 am, two unidentified militants in the guise of civilians arrived at Kifayat’s office and asked him to come out. “As soon as he emerged from the office, the militants opened indiscriminate fire on him and killed him on the spot. Some empty cartridges of 9mm Shaheen pistol were found at the spot which suggests that the attack has been carried out by the militants of Hizbul Mujahideen,” Imtiyaz Hussain told Deccan Herald.

The deceased was a social activist and was an unsuccessful candidate in the 2008 Assembly election from the Sopore constituency.

Calling Kifayat “police friendly,”  Imtiyaz Hussain said he had extended support to community policing initiatives. “He had received threats from different separatist camps (for his support to the police) and was provided security,” the SP said.

Reports said the killing has created panic in the area. So far, no militant outfit has claimed responsibility for the killing.  On March 20, Lashker-e-Toiba militants had shot dead a teenager inside a masjid in Sopore town. Hussain, apart from running his car workshop business, was heading a centre that facilitates skill enhancement of local youth under a scheme Himayat (support) by the Union Ministry of Rural Development.

The scheme was launched by the centre to engage Kashmiri youth in the aftermath of 2010 summer unrest that saw killings of more than 100 people especially youngsters in police and paramilitary firing on protesters.

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