Militants of Hizbul Mujahideen Saturday gunned down a top pro-India militant leader of south Kashmir, Ghulam Nabi Mir alias Nabi Azad, at
Shehlipora Achabal village in Anantnag district.
Official sources here described the killing as a major setback to counter-insurgency operations in south Kashmir.
Azad, who was chief commander of the pro-India militant outfit Muslim Mujahideen, was working closely with the security forces and special operations group after he surrendered in 1993.
Police sources said that militants in the afternoon opened fire on the MM chief, from close range, just outside his house and then escaped.
The other militants fired in the air before fleeing.
Scores of security guards who were in the house rushed out on hearing the sound of gunshots.
The counter-insurgent was immediately rushed to hospital in a critical condition. He, however, succumbed to injuries before reaching hospital.
Senior police and security force officers, along with reinforcements, rushed to Shahlipora and ordered massive searches. The body of Azad was taken to his village, where it was buried under tight security in the evening.
Tension gripped the area as troops mounted searches.
The frontline pro-Pak Hizbul Mujahideen admitted responsibility for the killing of the Muslim Mujahideen chief.
Azad formed the People's Patriotic Front in 1996 and supported the ruling National Conference during that year's polls.
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