Wednesday, May 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Two NC activists beheaded
Ehsan Fazili & PTI

Relatives wail over the death of Abdul Ghani Lone
Relatives wail over the death of Abdul Ghani Lone, who was shot dead in Srinagar on Tuesday. — Photo Amin War

Srinagar, May 21
Mr Abdul Ghani Lone, Executive Council member of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC), was gunned down by two assailants at the Idgah graveyard here this evening, exactly 12 years after eminent Kashmiri leader Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq fell to bullets.

Official sources said the gunmen appeared at the graveyard when senior Hurriyat leaders were leaving the area after addressing a meeting organised to mark the death anniversary of Moulvi Farooq.

The assailants first hit Mr Lone’s personal security officer (PSO) and then rained bullets on him from a distance. Mr Lone collapsed on the spot while his PSO and three others were wounded.

Eyewitnesses said that earlier in the day a group of youths arrived at the Idgah shouting pro-Pakistan slogans. However, former APHC chairman Mirwaiz Omar Farooq said those shouting the slogans were government agents. There was a clash between Mirwaiz’s supporters and those shouting slogans, the eyewitnesses added.

It was only at the end of the meeting when the leaders and public were leaving the Idgah when two youths fired on Mr Lone.

He is survived by wife, two sons and two daughters. His funeral will take place tomorrow, when the APHC has called a general strike in the valley in protest against the killing.

JAMMU: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah has expressed sorrow over the killing of Mr Lone and has held Pakistan responsible for the episode.

“Pakistan wants Kashmir and so is desperate in its action, which this killing has proved’’ he added.

Condemning the killing Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said Mr Lone was assassinated because he was working for peace in Jammu and Kashmir. Asked if the killing would be a setback to the peace process, the Prime Minister said he hoped it would not.

In another incident militants beheaded two National Conference activists after kidnapping them from their houses at Khairpora village early today, the police said.

The bodies of Abdul Jabbar Bhat and Abdul Khaliq Bhat were recovered from the Batapora forest in the Handwara area of Kupwara, it said.

A massive hunt had been launched to nab the militants involved in the killing.

Elsewhere atleast five persons, including three militants, one of them a top militant of Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami, have been killed in separate incidents in the Kashmir valley since yesterday.

A district commander of the Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami, was killed in an encounter with the Army at Manijan in the Kokernag area of Anantnag district today. Two foreign militants of the Lashkar-e-Toiba outfit were killed in another encounter with the Army at Qasba Berwah in Budgam district today.

Islamabad: Pakistan on Tuesday condemned the killing of Hurriyat leader Abdul Ghani Lone.

“The Government of Pakistan strongly condemns the cold-blooded murder of Abdul Ghani Lone,” a statement issued by the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman said.Back


ISI hand in killing
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 21
Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) had given the go-ahead for the elimination of All-Party Hurriyat Conference leader Abdul Ghani Lone after the failed UAE mission of the ISI chief wherein Mr Lone had flatly refused to do Pakistan’s bidding.

Well-placed sources said the Indian Intelligence agencies had already warned about the threat to the life of Mr Lone ever since he returned from the UAE meeting. With the killing of Mr Lone, the threat perception of another Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who was in Dubai with Mr Lone last month, has dramatically gone up as Central agencies fear that Pakistan-backed militants may try to liquidate him as well.

The April 16-17 meeting in the UAE of Kashmiri leaders from both sides of the Line of Control proved to be the turning point in Mr Lone’s life. The ISI chief, Lt-Gen Ehsanul Haq, and his subordinate Brig Abdullah, who looks after the political affairs of Kashmir in the ISI, had rushed to the UAE fearing that the Kashmiris may reach some kind of a resolution on the Kashmir problem.

The ISI chief, who met Mr Lone and Mirwaiz in the UAE, told them categorically that Pakistan wanted them not to participate in the forthcoming Assembly elections in J & K and derail the peace process. The ISI chief also exhorted the Hurriyat leaders to unitedly wage a political struggle against New Delhi.

Both Mr Lone and Mirwaiz flatly rejected the ISI chief’s pleas and said the people of Jammu and Kashmir wanted peace. Mr Lone had dropped enough hints in his meeting with Gen Haq that he was for participation in the electoral process.

Sources said Pakistan was totally involved in the killing of Mr Lone and chose today for launching the murderous attack to coincide it with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir.Back

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