December 2002 News

Slain Ministerís Brother Gunned Down In Kupwara

5 December 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

Srinagar: At the end of the holy month of Ramazan and on the eve of Idd-ul- Fitr, militants today assassinated the elder brother of the slain Law Minister Mushtaq Ahmed Lone outside his residence in Sogam village of Kupwara district. Militants also left 11 persons injured in a grenade blast at Pulwama town today. According to the reports available with SP Kupwara, S D Singh, the slain Law Minister Mushtaq Ahmed Loneís 48- year-old brother, Ghulam Mohiuddin Lone, was yards away from his house at Sogam when militants opened fire, killing him on spot, at 4.45 p.m this evening. In the afternoon, Lone had left for his Kupwara residence in order to be present there tomorrow on occasion of the Idd-ul-Fitr. Since the Lones were expecting a large number of guests on the first Idd after Mushtaq Loneís assassination, Ghulam Mohiuddin and his nephew, Qaisar Jamsheed Lone (MLA Lolab), were scheduled to be at home on Friday. Unofficial reports said that Qaisar Lone had reached his home in a bullet-proof car minutes before his uncle Ghulam Mohiuddin when militants in ambush struck in full view of passers by. According to these reports, as soon as Ghulam Mohiuddin reached close to his CRPF-guarded house in his Zen, two young militants lobbed a grenade and opened indiscriminate gunfire on him. He died on spot. Both the militants vanished after committing the assassination. Ghulam Mohiuddin Loneís younger brother, Mushtaq Ahmed Lone, who was a senior National Conference leader and Law Minister in Dr Farooq Abdullahís Government, was killed by militants at an election rally in Tikkipora village, 8 Km from his Sogam residence, on September 11th. He was eliminated alongwith his two personal security officers. While as Kupwara Police are still investigating Loneís killing, a Lashkar-e-Toiba spokesman told the local news agency CNS yesterday that he had been shot dead by two militants of his outfit, namely Abu Furqan and Abu Hanzla. According to the Lashkar spokesman, the same militants fired upon a BSF Commandant and a doctor near Sangrama, Sopore, on Wednesday and left them injured. Originally a businessman, Ghulam Mohiuddin Lone had become an intimate associate of Hizbul Mujahideenís first ''chief commander of operations'' Master Ahsan Dar in 1990-94. When Dar left Hizbul Mujahideen and launched his own ''Muslim Mujahideen'', Lone maintained very close relationship with him. He also functioned as ''financial chief'' of the Muslim Mujahideen. Both of them were arrested by BSF from Loneís Jawahar Nagar flat in 1994. In 1996, Government of India roped in a group of four former militant commanders and initiated a dialogue with them. The just released militants formed an alliance, titled ''Forum for Permanent Resolution of Kashmir''. Militant-turned-politician, Firdaus Sayeed Baba alias Babar Badar and Ghulam Mohiuddin Lone played a key role in the groupís parleys with the Union Home Ministry. During the last six years of the National Conference Government, Lone had emerged as an influential contractor and businessman in Kupwara district. His one- time militant friends, Almas Khan and Master Ahsan Daróin whose release then Minister of State Home Mushtaq Lone had played an important roleóare both in Pakistan. After reaching Islamabad in 2000, Master Ahsan Dar had floated another militant organisation, Ansaar-ul-Islam. Meanwhile, reports said that last evening militants lobbed two grenade and fired upon the residence of the former Minister Sakeena Itoo at Damhal Hanjipora. Her house-guards retaliated but militants managed to escape. One CRPF soldier sustained injuries. At Pulwama, militants lobbed a hand grenade towards a vehicle of CRPF 30th Bn at Rajpora Chowk in the main town. It exploded, causing splinter injuries to three CRPF personnel and eight civilians. They were rushed to hospital. Police and security forces have busted three underground militant hideouts in general area of Bonzuri nullah in Bandipore and recovered 2000 AK-56 ammunition rounds, seven RPGs, 200 Kgs of RDX, 28 hand grenades, an anti-tank rocket and a huge quantity of ration items.


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