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    Religious leader killed in Srinagar blast

    Srinagar: Prominent religious figure and Jamiat-e-Ahli Hadees chief Moulvi Showkat Ahmad Shah was on Friday killed in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast outside a mosque in Maisuma area of the city, police officials said.

    Shah, who was critically injured in the explosion which took place around 12.30 PM, was rushed to a city hospital where he succumbed to injuries, they said.

    Another youth, identified as Munir Ahmad Mir, was also critically injured in the blast.

    Although the exact cause of the explosion is being investigated, police suspect that militants have used an IED planted on a bicycle near the rear entrance of the mosque where Shah used to lead the Friday prayers.

    Several attempts were made on the life of Shah in the past.

    Shah was also actively involved in separatist politics and was very close to JKLF chief Mohammad Yasin Malik.

    Friday's blast was the first IED explosion in Srinagar city in the last two years.

    The last IED explosion took place in September 2009 when militants triggered a car bomb to blow up a police vehicle, leaving three persons dead and 18 others injured.

    CPI(M) State Secretary M Y Tarigami condemned the killing of Shah, saying it was an act of "cowardice".

    He called for an immediate end to political killings in Kashmir.