'Cops Masterminded Mushtaq Lone Killing'
15 June 2003
Srinagar: Two policemen arrested last week in Jammu and Kashmir for links with guerrillas had allegedly masterminded the assassination of minister Mushtaq Ahmed Lone in September last year, the State Police chief said on Sunday. Director General of Police Gopal Sharma said the two policemen had acted in tandem with separatist guerilla groups in Lone's assassination in Kupwara in north Kashmir while he was campaigning for last year's assembly elections. Sharma said assistant sub-inspector Ghulam Rasool Wani and selection grade constable Abdul Ahad Rather, arrested last week in Kupwara district, had been giving logistical support to various separatist groups active in the area. 'This is the first time local policemen have been found supporting militants in such a manner,' said Sharma. Lone was gunned down by a militant on September 11, 2002, while addressing an election meeting at Ratnag village in Kupwara, about 80 km from here. Five of Lone's guards and civilians were also killed in the attack. Lone was the People's Conference candidate for the Lolab constituency in Kupwara. The People's Conference was defeated in the polls, which brought to power a coalition led by the People's Democratic Party. Sharma said the two policemen had held a meeting with local commanders of the outlawed Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Hizbul Mujahideen immediately before Lone travelled to Kupwara on September 9, 2002. 'The militants provided wireless sets with scrambled frequencies to the policemen so that they could pass on information about the Minister's movements,' Sharma said. The two policemen also allegedly extended support for two recent fidayeen or suicide attacks in Kupwara, Sharma said.