India's ruling party leader in Kashmir killed ahead of polls
Iran Press TV
Sun May 5, 2019 08:05AM
Vice-president of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the disputed Kashmir's Anantnag district has been killed by unidentified gunmen ahead of elections.
Gul Mohammed Mir, also known as Atal, died in hospital on Saturday night after being shot in his car on Saturday night, Indian police said.
They said three suspected militants came to Mir's house in Nowgam Verinag area and asked him to get in his car. While driving the vehicle away, the gunmen shot Mir who was rushed to a hospital in critical condition where he succumbed to his injuries.
The incident comes ahead of the latest round of India's marathon election.
On Monday, voting will be held in 51 constituencies across seven Indian states, including Uttar Pradesh, the country's biggest state, which accounts for 80 of the 543 lawmakers decided in the election.
Voter turnout in Muslim-majority Kashmir has barely reached 10 percent in the previous rounds of the election, and Anantnag is expected to suffer on Monday – the fifth round of voting in the six week-long election which ends May 19. Results are to be released four days later.
Meanwhile, Indian authorities have launched a massive crackdown on pro-independence activists across Indian-controlled Kashmir.
The region's political leaders have condemned the crackdown, describing it as a brazen violation of the fundamental rights of Kashmiris.
Muslim-dominant Kashmir lies at the heart of a decades-long dispute between India and Pakistan.
Since the 1947 partition, both New Delhi and Islamabad have claimed the Himalayan region in full.
The two countries have fought two wars over the disputed territory and there have been sporadic clashes between the neighboring nuclear powers.
India accuses Pakistan of giving military support and training to the anti-India Muslim movement in the Indian-controlled Kashmir.
Pakistan denies the accusations and says it only offers spiritual support to the pro-independence campaigners in the restive region.
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