Baramulla, Jammu & Kashmir:
Suspected militants have shot a sarpanch dead in Kalantra village in Jammu and Kashmir's Baramulla district. Police say Javid Ahmad Wani, affiliated to the National Conference, was fired at by gunmen outside his home last evening.
The critically injured leader was rushed to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
No militant outfit immediately claimed responsibility for the killing.
Syed Ahfadul Mujataba, DIG Kashmir, told NDTV, "Two personal security officers from the J&K Police had been assigned for Mr. Wani's protection. Both were not present last evening when he was shot as he had reportedly allowed them to leave. We have called them in for questioning."
People's Democratic Party or PDP leader Naeem Akhtar said, "This killing is very unfortunate and we regret this incident. Society must be given more security."
In the past six months, five panchayat members have been killed in Kashmir. The killings are being seen as part of a design to subvert grassroots democracy in Kashmir by militants.
The president of the J&K Panchayat Conference, Shafiq Mir, said, "Militants had warned that sarpanches will be targeted. We have been asking the government for security but it has not addressed the issue."
Following these repeated attacks against local leaders, several panchayat members have announced their resignations fearing for their safety.