Activist Patel assassinated; neither Congress nor PDP want to own him
Srinagar, Apr 25: A political activist shot dead by unknown gunman at Rajpora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Wednesday was disowned by the two political parties he had been representing.
Official sources told The Kashmir Monitor that gunmen fired upon the vehicle of Ghulam Nabi Patel at Rajpora Chowk.
During the incident, his two security guards—Imtiyaz Ahmad Zargar of Handwara and Bilal Ahmad Mir—sustained bullet injuries and were shifted to a hospital for treatment.
Patel, a resident of Dangerpora, Shadimarg, succumbed to his injuries on way to the hospital.
Sources said that Patel had, at least, three close-range gunshot wounds on his torso.
The deceased was initially identified as a PDP activist, however the party soon shot an official statement condemning his death and calling him a “Congress activist”.
Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, in her official condemnation statement, identified him as “a local Congress activist of Pulwama”.
Moments later, Congress party also issued a statement, saying they condemn the killing of “a PDP activist”.
“…strongly condemned the killing of PDP activist, saying the killings, in any form, are highly condemnable and must be condemned by every section of the people. The spokesperson offered deepest condolences to bereaved family of Ghulam Nabi Patel and sympathized with them,” Congress said in the statement.
Reacting to the contradictory statements, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah criticised both Congress and PDP for “disowning” him.
Omar tweeted: “How tragic that Patel Sahib, a political worker assassinated by militants in Kashmir is being disowned by both the PDP & Congress. If neither party is willing to own him as one of their own let’s just call him a NC worker so his death is not in vain.”
Senior Journalist Shujaat Bukhari, too, reacted to the parties’ response.
“For long time we as reporters knew Ghulam Nabi Patel as a Congress leader. Didn’t know he had joined PDP. But it is sad that parties are disowning him. You need foot soldiers to carry your flag and when he is dead you disown him,” Bukhari tweeted.
NDTV’s Sreenivasan Jain said he had interviewed Patel last year.
“In April last year when @szaffariqbal and I interviewed him, he said he was general secy of Pulwama district PDP,” Jain wrote on his Twitter handle.
BJP, when it was their time to jump in the fray, called Patel “an innocent man”.
“Pained to learn about the brutal murder of an innocent man in Pulwama. Our deepest condolences to his family. Militants must realize that they cannot stop the people of the valley from choosing a better future for themselves,” the party statement read.