Srinagar: Suspected militants on Sunday night gunned down a sarpanch affiliated to ruling National Conference in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said. Javed Ahmed Wani was shot at and critically injured by the suspected militants inside his house in Kreeri area of Baramulla at around 7.40 pm, they said. Wani was rushed to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to injuries. No militant outfit immediately claimed responsibility for the killing.
This is the fifth instance in the last six months in which a sarpanch has been killed in the state. While three sarpanches were killed in September, 2012, another was shot dead in January. The killing of Wani was the second such incident this year. On January 11, sarpanch Habibullah Mir was shot dead in Sopore township of Baramulla district in north Kashmir, prompting Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to order more security to Panchayat heads.
Mir, who was affiliated with the Congress, was shot in the neck by the unidentified militants at his home and died subsequently in a hospital. Several Sarpanches and Panchayat members have been targeted by suspected militants in the border state since 2011. Over 20 panches and sarpanches of Sopore area have quit citing "threats to their lives" in the wake of fresh militant attacks on Panchayat members in the state.
The All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference (AJKPC) - an apex body of 33,000 Panchayat members - has blamed the state government for killings of its members by militants and asked the Chief Minister to quit if he failed to provide them security. Panchayat members in Kashmir have been demanding security from the state government since 2012 after increase in attacks on them.