Militants kill sarpanch in Kashmir

Militants kill sarpanch in Kashmir

Unidentified militants on Sunday shot dead a sarpanch of the ruling National Conference in the Baramulla district triggering fresh wave of panic among the grass root elected representatives of the Valley.

Police said the militants shot at Mohammad Shafi Teeli, deputy sarpanch of Nowpora Kreeri in Pattan, outside his house late on Sunday night. Teeli, 40, is survived by his wife and two children.

“Teeli was shot in his head four times by the militants who escaped and left him in a pool of blood. He was rushed to Sub District Hospital Sopore where doctors declared him dead,” a police spokesperson said.

Police said a team has been constituted to track down the killers. “We have already registered a case and started investigation,” the spokesperson added.

Teeli’s killing has come in the wake of repeated threats to the panchs and sarpanchs by militants who have asked them to resign from their posts or face dire consequences.

This is the second killing of panchayat members in the last two weeks in the area.

Militants, on September 10, shot dead Ghulam Mohammad Yatoo, sarpanch of Palhalan village. Police claimed to have arrested a leader of hardline Hurriyat Conference Nasir Ahmad Ganie alias Nasir Molvi for hatching a conspiracy to kill Yatoo. After Yatoo’s killing, dozens of panchs and sarpanchs in the area resigned fearing for their lives.

Teeli’s killing is part of a surge in violence in which at least 10 panches and sarpanches have been killed in the Valley over the past year since panchayat elections were held in Jammu and Kashmir after a gap of 33 years.

Posters and threat letters from various militant organisations have appeared lately in north and south Kashmir, asking panches and sarpanches to resign from their posts or face dire consequences.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday said he would discuss the issue of providing security to panchayat members in the next meeting of Unified Headquarters.