Ghulam Nabi Patel

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On April 25, 2018, Ghulam Nabi Mir, 65, was killed near Rajpora in Pulwama when unidentified gunmen fired at his vehicle. He died on the spot. A resident of Shadimarg in Rajpora, Mir was known as Patel, a nickname he earned for his long association with Congress’ Ahmed Patel.

Patel started his journey in politics in 1970s as Congressman with Mufit Sayeed. As a political activist, Patel was kidnapped twice during troubled 90s, allegedly by the militants, for his association with Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad. Besides, he survived two attempts on his life.

In 1996, he contested state assembly elections on Janta Dal mandate, but lost with a small margin of less than hundred votes. Later in 2002, Patel fought elections on a Congress ticket from Rajpora constituency, but lost with a huge margin. In 2014, just before the state assembly elections, Patel joined PDP. He was welcomed in the party folds by Mufti Sayeed during a public rally in presence of Dr Hasseb Drabu, party’s candidate from Rajpora. Mufti reportedly told people that Patel has come back home. A long associate of Mufti, Patel worked tirelessly to help party secure Rajpora.

During 2002 elections, Patel and other local candidates including Khalil Bandh and Ashok Kaul (BJP), were put up inside fortified Pulwama exchange, fearing they might be killed by the militants. In 2006, Patel was given accommodation at Government Housing Colony, Pulwama. Since then he was residing there. According to his son Sartaj Ahmad Mir, 24, Patel enjoyed Y category security cover which entitled him to four personal security officers (PSO), a driver and a car. Since then Patel enjoyed government accommodation at Talab Tillo, Jammu, and MLA hostel Srinagar. “He shifted out of MLA hostel Srinagar after a powerful blast killed a number of people there in 2006,” said Sartaj. “Patel was briefly staying at Hotel Gulmarg in Srinagar as well.”

But what pains Patel’s family the most is the fact that all political parties disassociated themselves with him, moments after he was assassinated. Mufti Sayeed’s daughter and current Chief Minister condoled Patel’s death but termed him a Congress activist. Survived by two wives and eight children, Patel faces an identity crisis in his death.

“He was not at all associated with BJP. He was a PDP man always,” said Sartaj. “Let him have some dignity in death.”

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