SRINAGAR, IhK: Suspected militants shot dead a 45-year-old pro-India politician Wednesday in Indian-controlled Kashmir, police said.

Kifayat Hussain was killed in the morning at Shankergund area of volatile Sopore town, around 55 km northwest of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.

“Some unknown militants fired upon Kifayat Hussain this morning in Sopore town,” said a police spokesman. “Though he was immediately removed to hospital but doctors declared him dead.”

Hussain’s killing has come at a time when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and chairperson of India’s ruling coalition (United Progressive Alliance - UPA) Sonia Gandhi are in the restive region and the authorities are on high-alert.

Hussain, apart from running his car workshop business, was heading a center that facilitates skill enhancement of local youth under a scheme Himayat (support) by the India’s Ministry of Rural Development.

New Delhi launched the scheme to engage youth in the restive region in the aftermath of 2010 mass unrest that saw killings of more than 100 people especially youngsters in police and paramilitary firing on civilian protesters.

Anti India sentiment runs deep in the psyche of Kashmiris and most of these programs are viewed with suspicion.

Police has registered a case and initiated investigations into the killing.

Locals said Hussain was a protected person and had unsuccessfully contested the 2008 local elections from Sopore constituency as an independent candidate.

“He was provided with two armed policemen but it seems the guards were not with him when the attack took place,” said a local over telephone.

The killing has created panic in the area. So far, no militant outfit has claimed responsibility for the killing.

This is the third violent attack around the high-profile visit.

On Monday militants of Hizbul Mujahideen ambushed an Indian army convoy in Srinagar, killing eight troopers and wounding several others.

Last week two policemen were shot dead from a point-blank range in a busy market of Srinagar.

Militants in the region usually target families and individuals for their possible links with police and defense agencies. Even people having associations with pro-Indian political parties are targeted at times.

A guerrilla war is going on between militants and stationed Indian troops in the region since 1989.