Mystery shrouds Hurriyat activist’s killing in Shopian

Mystery shrouds Hurriyat activist’s killing in Shopian
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A former militant now affiliated with Muslim League, Ganie was jailed under PSA in 2016, released this year

SHOPIAN: Drenched in blood and lying on the roadside 200 meters from his house, the body of Hurriyat (G) and J&K Muslim League (ML) activist Tariq Ahmad Ganie was found minutes after he walked out with an unknown person from his home in Shopian’s Meminder village on Thursday afternoon.
“He was at home, looking after the construction of house while other family members were busy at their orchard, when an unknown person took him from his home,” a neighbour said.
Witnesses said that they heard four gunshots before Ganie’s body was found. “We found him lying in a pool of blood on a street leading to Shal-latoo village. He had multiple gunshots on his head and had died on the spot,” a villager said.
Riyaz Ahmad Ganie, younger brother of Tariq, said that he was 100 meters away from the spot where his brother was shot and killed. “We heard gunshots and my son told me that someone had been shot. We didn’t dare to go there but in the meantime another person arrived and told me that it was Tariq who had been shot. I rushed to the spot and saw the body lying in a pool of blood. He took his last breath before me. He had two gunshots on his head,” Riyaz said.
Another neighbour said he saw Tariq leaving his home with an unknown person. “Tariq was smilingly talking to him and they were chatting as they walked towards Bren (a landmark named after a tree), where he was killed,” the neighbour said.
Another witness said that when Tariq and the unknown person were talking near Bren, there came by a black car from which gunshots were fired at Tariq. “They shot him from the car. The person who had taken Tariq from his home also fled with them in the car,” he said.
Family members said that Tariq was affiliated with the J&K Muslim League headed by jailed leader Masrat Alam. The ML is a constituent of the Geelani-led Hurriyat Conference (G). Family members said that Tariq was a former militant who was arrested in the 1990s. After he was released from jail, he became an activist.
They added that Tariq was detained by government forces multiple times in the past and had been jailed as well.
A close relative told Kashmir Reader that Ganie was booked under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) in the aftermath of Burhan Wani’s killing in 2016 and was released this year after being in jail for one-and-a-half year.
Villagers in Meminder accused Indian agencies of carrying out the murder. “How can militants kill a Hurriyat activist? That, too, someone who was often in police lock-up and jails. It was a handiwork of (Indian) agencies,” many villagers said.
A group of seven militants appeared during the funeral prayers of Tariq and fired multiple rounds in the air to give a gun salute to him. Witnesses said that the militants left the scene soon after offering the gun salute.
Family members said that Tariq was 43 years old. “He is survived by his three children: two sons and a daughter. The elder son and daughter are studying outside the state and we are waiting for their arrival before we bury his body,” said a relative of Tariq.
Thousands of people came to Meminder village to attend funeral prayers of the slain activist. The gathered people raised pro-freedom, anti-India and pro-militant slogans. Tariq’s body was wrapped in the Pakistan flag but not buried as the family was waiting for his children to arrive from outside the state.
The police statement on Tariq’s killing said that militants had shot at and killed him. The statement said that police have registered a case and begun an investigation.