HindustanTimes Thu,18 Dec 2014

Separatist leader's body found on roadside, foul play alleged

Peerzada Ashiq , Hindustan Times  Srinagar, September 12, 2013
First Published: 18:43 IST(12/9/2013) | Last Updated: 18:45 IST(12/9/2013)

Mystery shrouds death of a senior separatist leader whose body was found on a roadside in north Kashmir's Baramulla district on Thursday.


Separatists have alleged foul play and demanded an inquiry into the circumstances leading to his death.
Abdul Rasheed Sofi (65), a senior leader of the People's League (PL), which is a constituent of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq's moderate Hurriyat Conference, was lying in a pool of blood on a road near Kreeri's Nowpora area in Baramulla district, 40 km north of Srinagar.

A police spokesman of Srinagar's zonal headquarters said post mortem was conducted on the body. "An injury mark has been found on the head," he said.

According to initial police investigations, the circumstantial evidence on the spot suggests that "it was a hit-and-run road accident case". "The police have taken cognisance," he added.

PL chairman Mukhtar Ahmad Waza described the death as "pre-planned murder". "The party leader, known as Gazi Baba, seemed to have been killed under a conspiracy. There were signs of torture on his body, which indicate that he was killed to sabotage the voice of freedom in Kashmir," he alleged.

Calling for a shutdown in Baramulla on Friday, Waza claimed that Sofi was in south Kashmir's Anantnag district on Wednesday. "He had come to express condolences with my family. At 5pm, he along with other members of a Hurriyat delegation left the town," said Waza, who has demanded a high-level judicial probe into the killing of the leader.

Several separatist leaders have asked the government to make public the cause of Sofi's death.

Sofi, who was PL's central council member, was associated with the separatists since his early days. He was imprisoned many a time in the past.

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