September 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India
Ultras kill J&K Law Minister
The militants first triggered a landmine blast as his motorcade passed and fired a volley of gun shots killing him in Rednag village in Kupwara district at around 1 pm. Five to six persons accompanying him were also reportedly killed in the deadly attack with an equal number injured, the sources said.
A little known militant outfit Al Ariffel claimed responsibility for the attack. A person identifying himself as a member of the outfit called up a local news agency, owning up the responsibility. The caller said the outfit has formed a special squad to target candidates contesting the elections.
Lone, who was seeking re-election from the Lolab segment of Kupwara, is the second candidate killed by militants in the run-up to the first phase of polls to be held on September 16.
Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Deeraj Gupta said though his office had no confirmation of the incident, elections would probably be countermanded if Lone had been killed.
"The matter will be referred to the Election Commission which will take a decision. Under the laws, if a candidate belonging to any recognised party is killed, the elections are countermanded," he said.
Lone is the second NC minister killed by militants since the Farooq Abdullah government assumed charge in 1996.
In 1999, Power Minister Ghulam Hassan Bhat was killed by militants who triggered a land-mine explosion in Anantnag district.
Last week, militants killed an Independent candidate Abdul Rehman Sheikh in the Handwara area of Kupwara district. Several candidates and political activists have been targeted by militants since the announcement of polls schedule on August 2.
Pro-Pakistan Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen had set a deadline of September 10
for all candidates to withdraw from the poll race or face the
consequences. Several other militant outfits had also issued similar
warnings to the candidates. PTI
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