PULWAMA: Suspected militants on Wednesday afternoon shot dead Ghulam Nabi Patel, a former Congress politician who had switched over to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), near Rajpora Chowk in Pulwama district. Two personal security officers (PSOs) of Patel were also wounded by bullets that the militants fired in broad daylight.
Patel was on his way to Pulwama town from his native village Dangerpora Shadimarg, Pulwama, when he was shot at. He and his two PSOs were rushed to the district hospital but Patel succumbed to his injuries. His PSOs, identified as imtiyaz Ahmad Zargar and Bilal Ahmad Mir, are undergoing treatment at the district hospital.
SSP Pulwama Mohamamd Aslam Choudhary told Kashmir Reader that Patel and his two PSOs were travelling in a Scorpio vehicle, registration number JKOUM-0099, when they were fired upon near Rajpora Chowk.
Patel had long been a Congress man and had fought the assembly election in 2002 from the Rajpora constituency on Congress ticket. He fought the 2008 election on an SDP ticket and during the 2014 polls campaigned for Haseeb Drabu, who contested the Rajpora seat from the PDP’s side.
The killing of Patel led to some confusion after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in a tweet described him as a senior Congress leader.
“Heartfelt condolences to the family of senior Congress leader GN Patel who was killed by militants on Wednesday in Rajpora. Such cowardly acts achieve nothing but leave one more family devastated,” Mehbooba posted on Twitter.
Senior Congress leader and Vice-President of the J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC), Mohammad Anwar Bhat, condemned the killing of Patel but added that he had deserted Congress and had campaigned for Haseeb Drabu in the 2014 elections and thus was a PDP man.
A senior PDP leader, however, said Patel had joined the PDP but was expelled from the party one year after he did so.
Omar Abdullah criticised the Congress-PDP tussle over owning Patel in a tweet that said: “How tragic that Patel Sahib, a political worker, was assassinated by militants in Kashmir and is being disowned by PDP & Congress. If neither party is willing to own him as one of their own, let’s call him a NC worker so his death is not in vain.”
The deceased Patel has left behind nine children, including 5 daughters, and two wives.