A top official of a prominent Muslim organisation in Nepal was shot dead in broad daylight in capital city Kathmandu while returning home after praying in a mosque in what Muslim leaders said was the “targeted serial killing” of Muslims.
Faizan Ahmad, general secretary of Islami Sangh Nepal, was coming out of the mosque in Kathmandu’s prominent Ghantaghar square, close to the metropolitan police office, having said his afternoon prayers when two men approached him on a motorcycle and fired at least five rounds, hitting him in the head and stomach.
Ahmad, in his early 40s, succumbed to his injuries in the nearby Bir Hospital.
This is the second case of firing in a prominent public place in the capital in two months, occurring on the day security was high following the return of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai from New York.
The attack made the red-faced Maoist-led government shuffle the police administration immediately, removing Kathmandu police chief Kedar Rijal and bringing in a new man, Rajendra Shrestha, in his place.
Nazrul Hasan, president of Islami Sangh Nepal, condemned the killing, saying Muslims were alarmed at the “targeted serial killing” of Muslims in Nepal.
Hasan cited the murder of two Muslims in southern Nepalgunj city in the past as well as the killing, also in broad daylight, of controversial Nepali media baron Jamim Shah, who was shot by professional killers while going home in his car.
There was also an attack on budding politician and media owner Yunus Ansari inside prison in Kathmandu but Ansari survived.
Both Shah and Ansari are said to have been associated with running a fake Indian currency network spanning Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, India and beyond.
Shah’s killing is said to have been the handiwork of Indian underworld don Babloo Srivastava who said he plotted it from a jail in India’s Uttar Pradesh state where he is currently being held.
In April, Mehboob Asif, visa assistant at the Pakistani Embassy in Kathmandu, survived a gun attack close to the embassy, following which the mission asked Nepal’s government to beef up their security.
Hasan said Ahmad was a social worker and a “gentle man” and his murder had evoked condemnation by other religious groups.