Unknown gunmen on Tuesday shot dead a top separatist leader, Mir Hafizullah, at his residence in Badura locality in Akingam Achabal area of Anantnag district.
Mir was shot dead barely 20 yards away from his home on Anantnag-Kishtwar highway at Akingam at around 10:30 am.
“A car stopped on highway outside his home and a masked person alighted from it while two remained seated inside. As the masked man approached towards him, Hafizullah started asking the masked man who he was and why they had stopped outside his house. Within a fraction of seconds, the assailant fired two bullets towards Hafizullah, who collapsed on the ground,” said a local.
The mother of Hafizullah, who was also outside the house, tried to shield her son by laying herself over his body but the attacker fired a third bullet before escaping from the spot.
“The car was without a number plate,” said a local.
Hafizullah, who was a senior leader of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat led by Syed Ali Geelani, died on spot outside his home.
The attack on Hafizullah comes barely a week after Tehreek-e Hurriyat (TeH) in a statement had stated that he was receiving death calls.
The TeH had that Mir Hafizullah, who was party’s district President Anantnag, received threat calls from unknown numbers since last one month and demanded an investigation.
It had asked authorities to verify and locate the origin of these calls and make it in public domain. It had warned that if anything untoward happens to Hafizullah, the government would be solely responsible for it.
One of his close associates, Hafizullah said he had even managed to apprehend a suspicious person and even apprised police about him.
“He was staying at Srinagar since last 10 days and it was only last evening that he returned home since he feared for his life. From last one month, some unknown men would roam around his place and once he caught hold of one such person, who claimed to be from Anantnag town saying he was in the area in connection with some business work. Hafizullah had managed to get his number and lodged a complaint at nearby Achabal police station, also providing the number of the suspected person to the police authorities who did not take the matter seriously,” said his close friend and an aide.
Hafizullah was released from jail few months back after serving over one and a half year detention under notorious Public Safety Act.
He had spearheaded the 2016 agitation and managed to hold several rallies across south Kashmir.
Due to his three-decade-long association with Jamiat-e-Tulba, Jamaat-e-Islami and then TeH, he had stayed in jails for around 14 years on different occasions.
He had joined Jamaat’s youth wing, Jamiat-e- Tulba in 1981 when he was a class 6th student.
During the campaigning for Muslim United Front, he was first time jailed for a day in1987 and lodged at Sher Bagh police post in Anantnag district.
In 1990, when the armed struggle erupted, he was again arrested.
Hafizullah was “lead figure” during 2008 and 2016 agitations in Valley.
During 2010, 2011and 2012, he served detentions on different charges.
Hafizullah was released from jail on July 6, 2016 after a yearlong detention.
A day later, on July 8, Burhan Wani was killed in a brief encounter at Bemdoora village of Anantnag district, after which a five-month-long agitation left about 100 civilians dead and thousands injured.
After his arrest in November 2016, he was slapped with PSA on 23rd December 2016 and lodged in Kathua and other jails outside the valley.
After nine months, his PSA was quashed and police invoked two more PSAs against him and these were revoked by Home department citing unsatisfied grounds and charges against him.
He was released some three months back after his more than one and a half year police detention.
Thousands of people gathered at the native village of deceased leader and participated in his funeral prayers.
The mourners raised pro-freedom, pro-Pakistan, pro-militant and anti-India slogans.
Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani addressed the mourners over telephone.
The TeH chief, Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai was detained by police while on way to Akingam to participate in Hafizullah’s funeral.