June 2002 News

Lashkar-e-Tayyaba killed Lone: BSF

12 June 2002
The Asian Age

Srinagar: Even as the local police and intelligence authorities are groping for an answer as to who killed senior Hurriyat Conference leader Abdul Gani Lone, a paramilitary force assigned the counter-insurgency task on Wednesday pinpointed the assassins as belonging to the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba. One of the murderers was recently killed in an anti-terrorist offensive whereas the effort to track the other down is underway, a senior border Security force official disclosed. Mr K.S. Bhuller who lauds the Intelligence wing of the ISI in the Kashmir Valley said that "We have credible reports that Mr Lone was killed by the members of the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba." Lone considered a modern voice within the Hurriyat Conference, an umbrella organisation of more than 20 Kashmiri separatist outfits, was along with his personal security guard Mustaq Ahmed shot dead by masked gunmen in Srinagar on May 21. Asked why the Lashkar declared as a terrorist organisation by the US, India and Pakistan should have picked up Lone for the crime, the BSF official said, "The reason for his killing was that he was inclined to participate in the upcoming assembly elections." Also, Lone's political outlook has changed considerably in the recent past and he would make no bones about his dislike of violence as a means of achieving political goals, Mr Bhuller added. The officer also knew through intercepts that Lone's murder was "appreciated" by the militant leaders operating from across the border. For they were unhappy over the Kashmiri separatist leader's "transformation from hard-liner to a moderate." Mr Bhuller added, "they never liked that." Local police officials have no doubt about the pro-Pakistani militants being involved in Lone's killing. But during their investigations into into the sensational act no break through seems to have been achieved, so far. The police officials say that the investigations are still underway. No formal arrests have been made although the police has questioned some of the witnesses in this regard. Mr Bhuller said that a Lashkar commander Abu Iladeed and one of his associates shot Lone and his PSO from point blank range at the Idgali grounds in Srinagar on May 21. Abu Iladeed's accomplice (not identified) was killed during a counter-insurgency operation in central Budgam district, he said adding however that Abu Iladeed was still at large.


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