SRINAGAR, India – Suspected Islamic militants gunned down a state minister and five of his supporters Wednesday as they campaigned for legislative elections in Indian-controlled Kashmir, police said.
Mushtaq Ahmad Lone, law minister for Jammu-Kashmir state, was killed in the village of Lalpora, nearly 70 miles north of Srinagar, a police officer said on condition of anonymity.
The suspected guerrillas detonated a land mine and opened fire as Lone arrived the village, the officer said. The explosion blew up two vehicles, including the one in which Lone was traveling as he drove through his constituency, the spokesman said.
Lone belonged to the ruling, pro-India National Conference party. He died on the spot, police said. More than a dozen people were wounded in the attack.
Additional details were not immediately available.
The rebels have intensified attacks on politicians defying their call to boycott the elections to begin next Monday. On Tuesday, insurgents attacked two other National Conference leaders, but they survived.
The Islamic militants, who reject Indian control over the Himalayan province, had pledged to disrupt the crucial elections. The rebels have been fighting Indian security forces since 1989 to carve out an independent state or to merge with Pakistan, India's neighbor and bitter rival.