On 24 September, 2020, lawyer and human rights advocate, Babar Qadri, 40, was shot to death in his home, making him one of the most high-profile casualties of the violence wracking Kashmir
Family members said an assailant posing as a potential client shot him in the head and chest in the courtyard of his home in the old part of Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir. The identity of the assailant was not clear, the police said, according to local media.
Long volatile, the predominantly Muslim Kashmir region has suffered growing violence since the Indian government revoked the region’s semi-autonomy and increased its security presence there in 2019. The move hardened the attitude of militants who have fought for years for independence from India and sidelined moderate voices calling for ways to improve relations with the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has taken an increasingly hard line toward India’s Muslims.
Qadri grew up in Srinagar speaking Kashmiri, Hindi and English, which later made him an effective spokesman in polyglot India. He studied law in the city and became a human rights lawyer.
Qadri had said in the weeks prior to his death that he had received death threats. He said the police should investigate people who had accused him of being a man of “agencies,” implying he worked secretly for Indian intelligence.
All political parties in Kashmir condemned Qadri’s killing, coming a day after a Block Development Council member was shot in Budgam. National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah said, “The sense of tragedy is all the more because he warned of the threat. Sadly his warning was his last tweet.”