SRINAGAR: Unknown gunmen continue to target political activists in the Valley where a Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front worker was shot dead last night in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

Officials said a group of unidentified gunmen shot multiple rounds and instantly killed the JKLF activist in Langate area of Handwara in Kupwara district.

Police said the gunmen fired shots at the 39-year-old man identified as Abdul Majeed Shah outside his residence in Babagund area of Handwara.

“The victim was critically injured and he succumbed before medical treatment could reach him,” officials said.

Sources said Shah was a fruit merchant by profession and he was associated with Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front whose chief Yasin Malik is languishing in Tihar jail in the alleged terror funding case.

Soon after the incident, locals gathered at the spot and a team of police and army launched a manhunt to nab the assailants who had however managed to escape from the area. The body was handed over after medico-legal formalities to his legal heirs late on Monday night.

The shooting comes weeks after a gunfight between security forces and militants in Babagund area on March 3 that lasted for three days left two militants, four CRPF personnel, two policemen and a civilian dead.

“We have registered a case and investigations are on to find out the identity of the culprits,” a senior police officer said.

Shah’s killing comes over a week after a Peoples Democratic Party leader was shot in Kulgam on May 19. Muhammad Jamal, 65, was fired upon by unknown gunmen outside his house at Zungalpora village of Kulgam district.

The victim had suffered multiple bullet wounds and was rushed to the district hospital in Kulgam for treatment from where he was referred to a Srinagar hospital where he succumbed on the next day.

The month of March recorded heightened violence against civilians in Kashmir with unknown gunmen opening fire at the National Conference block president Mohammad Ismail Wani outside his home at Bijbehara of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

The NC leader was hit in the abdomen and is undergoing treatment at the SMHS hospital in Srinagar.

In the same week, unknown gunmen killed 37-year-old Showkat Ahmad Naik outside his home at Pinglina village of Pulwama district. The victim had joined the Army but deserted during training in September last year.

Cover Photograph BASIT ZARGAR