Senior minister in the state government and a family confidante of Abdullahs, Ali Mohammad Sagar, escaped a bid on his life last week. Unidentified gunmen attacked himduring a family ceremony in Nawabazar locality, a part of Khanyar constituency Sagar represents in the legislative house.
The attack, which reportedly was claimed by Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen, surprised many even in the government as no such attack on a senior leader in the city had been carried out for a long time.
Police said Nawab Bazar, where the minister was attacked on Sunday evening while receiving guests for his niece’s engagement was not sanitized because they had no prior information about the visit. “Had we been informed, we would have secured the area,” one official said on condition of anonymity. Militants actually had reached the main gate of Sagar’s brother’s house and were firing from there in a bid to crash in.
Just a day after, Nasir Aslam Wani, minister of state for home affairs asked civil and police administration to maintain high vigil.
However, senior National Conference leader and uncle of Chief Minister, Mustafa Kamal said that militants cannot be blamed for everything. Infact, he pointed a direct finger towards the army suspecting its hand in the attack “People with vested interests want to keep the pot boiling. Army has been strongly opposing AFSPA revocation while separatists know that if AFSPA is revoked they will have to close their shop,” Kamal said.
Even Sagar himself, refraining from blaming militants or describing it a security lapse said, “it was a cowardly act of terrorism but do not know who carried [out] the attack”. The attack on Sagar has brought once again the debate on revocation on AFSPA to the forefront. Not only Lt Gen S A Husnain, who heads army in Kashmir based 15 corps told reporters that revocation of AFSPA may encourage militants to cross the border again. Bhartya Janta Party said the attack on Sagar was a result of militants getting emboldened after statements on AFSPA by various sides.
After 2010 unrest when police decided to conduct on the spot recruitment rallies to bring stone pelters in their own fold, it was Sagar who, according to police sources, assured them for the success of the show and managed to bring young people to participate to the police recruitment drive. Sagar stoked a major controversy during 2010 unrest, when he blamed CRPF personnel for being out of state government’s control and asked Indian Home minister to visit Kashmir to tame ‘outlawed’ CRPF personnel. His statement briefly strained relations between Kashmir government and New Delhi.