A political activist was killed in a terrorist attack on Wednesday in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said, but the ruling People's Democratic Party and opposition Congress were locked in a row over the party affiliation of the victim.
Ghulam Nabi Patail, a resident of Shadimarg area in Pulwama, succumbed to injuries while being taken to a hospital after the attack in Rajpora Chowk area which also left two policemen injured.
As political parties promptly condemned the killing. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti described Patail as a 'senior Congress leader' while the Congress said he was a 'well-known PDP activist'.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah waded into the row, saying if neither PDP nor Congress was willing to own Patail as one of their own, he could be called an NC worker.
The Congress and the PDP were not keen on owning the killed leader as their own to avoid conveying to their workers that they were at risk, Abdullah, a former chief minister claimed.
Giving details of the attack, a police officer said three persons were injured when terrorists opened fire in the Rajpora Chowk area.
One of the injured, a political activist identified as Ghulam Nabi Patail, resident of Shadimarg area, succumbed to injuries while being taken to a hospital, he added.
The other two injured, both policemen, were being treated upon at a hospital and their condition was said to be stable, the police official said.
Security forces have cordoned off the area and a hunt has been launched to nab the attackers, he said.
Patail had contested the 2002 J&K assembly elections on a Congress ticket but switched over to Socialist Democratic Party in 2008 assembly elections. He did not contest the 2014 state polls.
'Heartfelt condolences to the family of senior Congress leader, G. N. Patel who was killed by militants today in Rajpora. Such cowardly acts achieve nothing but leave one more family devastated (sic),' Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is also the president of PDP, tweeted.
A Congress party spokesperson, while strongly condemning the killing, said in a statement Patail was a 'well-known PDP activist'.
In a statement, Mohd Anwar Bhat, vice president of the state's Congress unit, said the killings, in any form, were highly condemnable and must be condemned by every section of the people. He offered deepest condolences to the bereaved family.
'What terrible news to start the day with here. My heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased & prayers for the injured. Allah jannat naseeb karay,' Omar Abdullah 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 (sic),' he added in another tweet.
The former chief minister said Patail was being 'denied' the dignity of having been killed for his political affiliations so that the PDP and Congress can 'lie' to their workers to claim they were not at risk.
'Ghulam Nabi Patail is being denied the dignity of having been assassinated for belonging to a political party just so the PDP & Congress can lie to their workers to claim they aren't at risk from militant bullets,' Abdullah said in another tweet.