Srinagar: Suspected militants on Thursday shot dead a Panchayat member belonging to ruling National Conference in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, police officials said. 7o-year-old Gul Mohammad Bhat, son of Abdul Ganaie, was fired upon at his shop at main bazaar Wanpoh, they said. Bhat, a Panch, who received two bullets in the chest, was shifted to the district hospital from where attended referred him to Srinagar for specialized treatment. As Bhat was being rushed to Srinagar, he succumbed to his injuries near Awantipora, the police said. No militant outfit has so far claimed responsibility for the killing, which took place a day after five-phased parliamentary elections came to an end in the Kashmir Valley. Last month, three Sarpanchs and a numberdar (village head) were shot dead in south Kashmir’s Tral area. On April 21, three days before polling for Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, a congress Sarpanch Ghulam Nabi Mir and his son Firdous Ahmad were killed at Batigund, Tral. On the same day, gunmen shot dead a numberdar Muhammad Anwar Sheikh of Amlar, Tral. Earlier on April 17, Sarpanch Muhammad Amin Pandit, affiliated with opposition People’s Democratic Party, was killed by suspected militants at Gulzarpora, Awantipora. Meanwhile, the National Conference has condemned the killing of its Panchayat as an “act of cowardice, barbarism.” In a statement, an NC spokesman said Bhat was a political worker and activist who belonged to the party. “Bhat was killed for his beliefs. (He) was killed by cowards in an act of sheer barbarism,” the spokesman said.
JeM militant killed
Police on Thursday found the body of a militant from an orchard in Tral. The militant was injured during an ambush with Tral police and army near Dadsara-Amirabad on Tuesday, according to the police. “Following the encounter, the ambush team detected bloodstain marks on the trails of the fleeing militants. Next morning police recovered an AK-47 rifle near the encounter site believed to be that of the injured militant,” a police handout said. Police identified the slain militant as Syed Mawia, “a foreign militant of Jaish-e-Muhammad.” “He was one of the militants involved in the killing of numbardar Mohammad Anwar at village Amlar, Tral,” the police said. Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in Tral town after news about the death of the militant spread in the area, reports said. In main town Tral, youth pelted stones on CRPF. However, no one was injured in the clashes. Later in the afternoon, police handed over the body of the militant to local Auqaf committee for last rites, reports said, adding that the militant was later laid to rest amid pro-freedom slogans.
Shutdown, clashes in Sopore
A spontaneous shutdown was Thursday observed in Sopore town of north Kashmir amid violent clashes between youth and paramilitary forces. Reports said a group of youth took to streets to protest over Wednesday’s evening incident when many youth were injured after the polling concluded for Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency. The protesters chanted anti-India and pro-freedom slogans. They also pelted stones on police and CRPF personnel. The forces retaliated with tear smoke canisters. No one was injured in the clashes, reports said. All shops, schools, banks and educational institutions remained shut in the town. No group had called for the shutdown.