This Article is From Dec 13, 2014

Kidnapped Sarpanch Killed by Suspected Militants in Sopore

Kidnapped Sarpanch Killed by Suspected Militants in Sopore

Ghulam Mohammad Mir's daughter walks with a photo of her father

Sopore: The body of a sarpanch, who was kidnapped by suspected militants, was found in the fields in in Sopore in north Kashmir's Baramulla district this morning.

Police sources say multiple gunmen barged into the house of 62-year-old Ghulam Mohammad Mir in Tarazoo village in the district last evening and kidnapped him.

"There were 7 or 8 people in our backyard. There were perhaps more outside too. All of them were armed and wearing khaki-coloured uniforms. One man said, 'we are your kin, don't be afraid. An officer wants to meet him. He will be back soon and we will leave him till the gate.' My elder sister protested and one man pushed her away and took my father away. We don't know what happened after that," said the daughter of the sarpanch or village head.

Police and security forces had launched a manhunt soon after the family of the sarpanch lodged a complaint, but could not track down the kidnappers.

"The body of the slain headman has been recovered from a field Saturday morning away from the place where he was kidnapped. An FIR has been lodged," a senior police officer said.

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Security agencies believe Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen militants operating in the area, may be responsible.

Militants have been targeting village headmen in Jammu and Kashmir ever since the panchayat polls were held in the state after 20 years in 2011.

Yesterday's incident comes three days after Assembly elections were held in Sopore as part of the third phase of polling in Jammu and Kashmir. Sopore saw a turnout of 30 per cent, 10 per cent higher than the 2008 assembly elections.

Polling for the fourth phase in which 18 constituencies will vote in Srinagar, Anantnag, Shopian and Samba districts begins tomorrow.