2nd sarpanch attacked in Shopian in 2 days, condition critical

2nd sarpanch attacked in Shopian in 2 days, condition critical
Suspected militants tonight shot at and critically injured a sarpanch who joined PDP earlier in the day in the second attack on a village head in Shopian district of Kashmir Valley in as many days.

The attack by militants on Shiraz Ahmad Bhat--who was earlier affiliated to ruling National Conference--took place in Shigan area, police said.

It happened on the eve of the second phase of the five-phase Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir. Shopian goes to polls in the fourth phase on December 14.

A police spokesman said Bhat was rushed to a hospital in Pulwama from where he was referred to Srinagar hospital in view of his critical condition.

Sources said Bhat had joined opposition PDP today and that he was earlier affiliated to the NC.

Unidentified militants last night shot dead a sarpanch of the NC in Shopian district near his residence.

Mohammad Sultan Bhat was in his car when the ultras stopped his vehicle about 500 metres from his residence in Nazneenpora in Shopian and pumped bullets into him from close range at around 9.30 pm, according to police.

Bhat died on the spot while the assailants managed to escape, it said. No arrests have been made so far in this attack.

Chief Minister and NC leader Omar Abdullah said his party will request the Election Commission of India to review security in Shopian district.

"My party will formally request the ECI to review security in this area. We are concerned about gaps in the security grid," Omar tweeted while offering his condolences to the family of Mohammad Sultan Bhat.

Omar said with model code of conduct in force, he cannot intervene with security forces on the matter.

"The EC code forbids me from any engagement with the security forces. So, the EC is now responsible for plugging any loopholes," he added.

Meanwhile, five Congress activists, including a sarpanch, have been booked for allegedly assaulting some BJP supporters over a political rivalry, police said in Jammu.

"The victims were on way to hospital with a patient when they were intercepted by the accused and assaulted," a police officer said.

He said the accused have been identified as Kewal, a sarpanch of Gari village, Umesh Singh of Bareli, Maqbool of Gari, Ranjit Singh of Gari and Raju Singh of Gran Morh. Police said Kewal is associated with the Congress.

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