A village head was shot dead by suspected militants in Pulwama district of South Kashmir
Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir:
Fear has gripped a South Kashmir hamlet in Pulwama district after a village head was shot dead by suspected militants on Wednesday evening. What is more shocking that 43 year old Mohammad Yousf Bhat is believed to be the victim of perceptions about his religious beliefs.
A senior police officer in Pulwama said, "We are investigating all angles including rumours that the victim had converted to Christianity and that may well be a reason behind his killing."
The family says Mr Bhat was innocent and they have no idea why he was killed and who is behind it. They say on late Wednesday evening, gunmen barged into their home and asked the village head to come out, later they shot him dead outside their premises.
Mr Bhat's father-in-law, Wali Mohammad said, "They were four people in uniform wearing masks. My daughter was accompanying him. She was pushed back and they told her they want to talk him."
This area in South Kashmir is infested with highly militancy. Most locals are scared to even speak about the incident, but some suspect that Mr Bhat had converted to Christianity a few years ago. A police officer told NDTV that there were rumours that he was doing evangelist work, which had made him vulnerable.
This is the seventh civilian killing by suspected militants in the past five weeks in the valley, the last killing happened in Sopore area of North Kashmir on June 14.
Police claims Mr Bhat had no affiliations with any political party nor had any links with the security agencies. But in a place where perceptions are more important that reality, the Pulwama village head has become another victim of faceless violence in Kashmir.