Jammu and Kashmir's prominent Communist leader Ghulam Nabi Ganai was shot dead by militants in Anantnag district Monday, police sources said.
Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Ganai, 53, who unsuccessfully contested the last assembly elections, was shot at by pistol-borne militants outside a local mosque near his house at Seer-Hamdan village of Mattan, 65 km from Srinagar, around 2.45 pm, the sources said.
The critically injured leader was immediately rushed to a hospital where he was declared dead on arrival, they said.
They said Ganai was talking to some villagers when assailants fired at him from point blank range.
Although the state government has provided two personal security officers to him, none of them was present at the scene as the deceased leader had reportedly asked them to visit their homes this morning, the sources said.
Police, assisted by security forces, immediately sealed the area and a hunt has been launched to nab the militants involved in the killing, the sources said.
Condemning the killing, State Secretary of CPI-M and legislator M Y Targami said it is the most unfortunate incident, which took place due to 'security lapse'.
He said the deceased was Anantnag District Committee Member of the party and was very popular among the masses.
Ganai had been demanding adequate security cover over the past several years in view of threat to his life, but the state government paid no heed to his plea, Tarigami claimed.