SRINAGAR: A former commander of the state-backed militia Ikhwan, who was serving in the Territorial Army, was shot dead by suspected militants at his home in the volatile south Kashmir’s Kulgam district today.

According to police, the slain identified as Mukhtar Ahmad Malik alias Mukhtar Gola, who served in 162 battalion of Territorial Army, was shot dead by a group of gunmen who barged into his home in Shurat village of Kulgam.

Police said the victim was taken to a hospital where doctors declared him brought dead. Following the incident, a large contingent of police and paramilitary forces has cordoned off the area and searches to have been launched to nab the suspects.

Sources said Mukhtar served as a commander in Ikhwan-ul-Muslimoon, a notorious state-backed militia that was used by the government to crush militancy in Kashmir and which has been blamed for human rights abuses by many.

The killing underlines the deteriorating security situation in Kashmir where municipal and Panchayat elections are going to be held from next month amid heightened security measures and deepening political uncertainty.

Security forces on vacations at their homes have lately become soft targets for militants in Kashmir. On June 14, militants abducted the 44 Rashtriya Rifles’s army man Aurangzeb, who was travelling in a private vehicle. His bullet-riddled body was later recovered from Pulwama.

On November 25, 2017, unknown gunmen killed an army soldier, who was on leave, in Wothmula village of south Kashmir’s Shopian district. Sepoy Irfan Ahmad Dar, posted with 175 Territorial Army (Engineers) in Bandipora, had left home in his car but did not return. His bullet riddled body was found by the locals in an orchard in nearby Wothmula village of the district. Dar was posted in Gurez sector along the Line of Control in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district.

His killing came months after a BSF man, Mohammad Ramzan Parrey was shot at his home in Hajin area of Bandipora. On May 10, an Army officer identified as Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz Parry, who also hailed from Kulgam where the latest incident took place, was shot dead by militants in Shopian district.

The officer, who was on leave to attend a family marriage, was kidnapped from his house and later shot dead. His bullet-riddled body was found in Herman Chowk in Shopian district. The young officer was serving in Akhnoor district and was commissioned in the Army in December 2016.

(Cover photo: Representational Image)