Abd al-Rashid Shardar, also known as Ghazi Shahab al-Din, was killed by Indian police at Gurgadi Mohalla on Thursday, a congested locality of old Srinagar.

Inspector General of Police, Rajendra Kumar, said that one or more of the fighter’s comrades were believed to have escaped after breaking the police dragnet.

“His [Ghazi’s] moments were being constantly and closely watched over the past few days and the surveillance obtained us the big fish we were looking for, for quite some time.”

The Indian officials say the separatist commander was high on India's list of most wanted fighters by security forces attempting to combat the 15-year-old guerrilla war.

Hizb ul-Mujahidin confirmed Ghazi's death, but said this would not affect the group's resistance to occupation.

Official statistics say more than 40,000 people have died in the Kashmiri strife so far but the local human rights groups put the toll twice that as high.

Voting boycott

Meanwhile, at least one Indian security officia died and 34 others wounded in a series of attacks carried out by separatists on polling stations in the Anantnag constituency in the south of the disputed province.

No district in Kashmir had more
than half its voters turn out

Anantnag went to the polls in the third phase of the general elections for the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Indian parliament, on Wednesday.

But the majority of its one million voters obeyed a boycott call issued by the separatists fighting Indian rule over the predominantly Muslim state.

Kashmiri separatists had asked residents to boycott the elections, which they cay cannot be a substitute for the right of self-determination.

In some districts, voter turn-out was less than two percent. Only 16% voted in the region's capital, Srinagar.

Boycotters maintain that New Delhi has always interpreted participation in elections to the outside world as showing confidence in Indian rule and democracy.