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Kashmir’s director general of prisons found murdered at friend’s home

Kashmir’s director general of prisons found murdered at friend’s home
Hemant Kumar Lohia's domestic help suspected in killing, which occurred hours before scheduled visit of India's home minister

By Hilal Mir

SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir (AA) - Police are investigating the murder of Jammu and Kashmir’s director general of prisons, who was found dead at his friend’s home overnight after his domestic help went missing and a militant outfit claimed responsibility for the killing.

Hemant Kumar Lohia’s throat had been slit and there were burn marks on his body.

Additional Director General of Police Mukesh Singh told reporters that guards stationed outside the house broke into Lohia's room, which was locked from inside, after noticing a fire there.

Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh told the media that the suspect had apparently strangled Lohia to death, slit his throat with a broken ketchup bottle and then attempted to set his body on fire. Dilbagh described the incident as "extremely unfortunate" and added that a search operation is underway to arrest the absconding help.

Lohia was staying at the home of his friend, Rajiv Khajuria, on the outskirts of Jammu city along with his family because his own house was under renovation.

Several local and Indian news channels have reported that the militant outfit People's Anti-Fascist Front has claimed responsibility for the killing, though the police have not commented on this yet. If the outfit turns out to be responsible for plotting the killing, it would be the first killing in the more than 30 years of anti-India insurgency in which such a top-ranking official has been killed.

The killing happened hours before Indian Home Minister Amit Shah began his three-day visit to the region, which was stripped of its autonomy on Aug. 5, 2019. Security personal have been deployed in the region to thwart militant attacks. Shah is scheduled to visit Kashmir Valley's Baramulla district on Wednesday.

-Disputed region

Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars in 1948, 1965 and 1971, including two over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights groups, thousands of people have been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

source: News Feed
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