Separatist Leader Suspected In Lone's Murder
30 November 2003
The Indian Express
Srinagar: In startling findings, an over ground separatist leader of Kashmir has been alleged to be involved in the killing of senior Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Lone, who was shot dead by militants last year. Highly-placed official sources said that the leader, whom they refused to identify, was allegedly in the knowledge of the plot to kill Lone on May 21 last year when he was attending the 12th martyrdom ceremony of Mirwaiz Farooq. The sources said the separatist leader had been contacted by ISI on several occasions before the assassination took place. The role of the separatist leader, who was already under suspicion, came to light after the killing of Ghazi Baba, Jaish-e-Mohammed commander in the Valley, who was shot dead on August 30 by security forces. Several documents recovered from the site of the encounter highlighted the fact as to how the help of the separatist leader was taken and how the killing was executed by the militants. The sources said the militants, who had actually carried out the killing, would be brought to book soon and the missing links in the case would be joined. The sources said that the ISI had decided to 'eliminate' lone when he had returned from Dubai last year in March. The date of his killing had been decided and Ghazi Baba was asked to execute the plan to kill him for his moderate approach. Lone was gunned down on May 21 last year when Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee began his visit to the state. The killing of Lone sent shockwaves among the political leaders in the state as he was the most outspoken separatist leader, who, while criticising New Delhi, did not spare even Islamabad. Ghazi Baba received a directive from across the border to kill Lone as they feared that he would hold talks with Prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. The sources said the documents recovered from the encounter site of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Saif-ul-Islam, who was gunned down in April this year, also brought to light the fact that Jaish had taken the help of Hizbul in getting the local support to the militants executing the job. In the documents recovered from Islam, the name of the separatist leader was mentioned.