Union Minister of State for Home I D Swami said the killing of moderate Hurriyat Conference leader Abdul Gani Lone was an attempt by Pakistan-based terrorist groups to derail the democratic process in Jammu & Kashmir.
The state is scheduled to go to the polls in September this year to elect a new assembly. Lone had privately expressed his willingness to participate in the election.
"There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that the killing of Abdul Gani Lone is aimed at disrupting this process," Swami told rediff.com
He recalled that Lone had on his last trip to Pakistan severely criticised Islamabad and asked the terrorist groups based there to give up violence and let the political leadership take over the movement in Kashmir. "This was obviously not liked by the Pakistani administration and the terrorists," he remarked.
Swami said that on several occasions, terrorist outfits operating from Pakistan had threatened to kill Lone if he did not give up his moderate posture and start supporting Pakistan's claim on Kashmir. "This was the reason some attacks had taken place on him in the recent past," he said.
"This is not the first time," Swami said, "that moderate elements have come under threat from those wielding the gun. When Abdul Majid Dar announced a unilateral ceasefire, Syed Salahuddin called it off from Pakistan."
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