SRINAGAR: A senior activist of the People’s Conference party in Jammu and Kashmir was shot dead by suspected militants outside his home in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district last night.

Police and family sources said two unidentified suspects armed with AK-47 assault rifles barged into the residence of Ghulam Nabi Khoja, 50, around 8.45 pm yesterday and asked him to come out.

They said the suspects then fired indiscriminately at Khoja, an employee in J&K’s education department, while his family was ordered to stay indoors. The incident took place in Kralgund village of Handwara.

“Upon hearing the gunshots, the family rushed out to find Khoja lying in a pool of blood. He was brought to Baramulla district hospital where he succumbed to injuries,” a senior police officer said.

Police sources said the suspects managed to escape under the cover of darkness by the time forces arrived in the area. “A search operation was carried out in the area but it didn’t yield any results,” the officer said.

Khoja, who is survived by two sons and wife, was associated with Peoples Conference (PC) whose chief, Sajjad Lone, is a minister in the PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir.

According to sources in the PC, Khoja was associated with the party since the days of Abdul Gani Lone who was assassinated in 2002. His son, Sajad, quit separatist politics and jumped into mainstream by contesting assembly elections in 2014.

This is the second such incident in the last ten days in the Valley where situation continues to remain tense following the killing of Burhan Wani in an encounter in July this year.

On October 2, Fayaz Ahmad, a former sarpanch affiliated with the Opposition National Conference, was killed by militants outside his house in south Kashmir’s Kandizal village.

No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attacks in both cases.