Sarpanch shot dead in Sopore

Cowardly Act: Omar; Premature To Say Who Killed Mir: Police


Srinagar, Jan 11: Unidentified gunmen Friday shot dead a Sarpanch in Sopore Tehsil of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, taking the number of such killings to five in the past less than two years. The Chief Minister Omar Abdullah termed the killing as a “cowardly act” and hoped that police would “get to the bottom of the issue as soon as possible.”
Police sources said Habibullah Mir, 50, son of Muhammad Akbar, Sarpanch of the Gooripora village in Boomai area in Sopore was shot from point-blank range. “At the time of his killing, he was supervising construction work near a local Masjid,” they said. Mir had contested Panchayat election on Congress ticket.
Sources said Mir was coming towards the construction site with a flask of tea for labourers when he was intercepted by two unidentified gunmen. “Two gunmen wearing pheran (traditional Kashmiri dress) intercepted Mir. They shot him in neck with a pistol from point-blank range,” a middle-rung police officer from Sopore told Greater Kashmir. “We removed him to Sopore hospital but he was declared as brought dead by the doctors there.”
Soon after the incident, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police, North Kashmir, Rajesh Kumar, officiating SP Sopore Zubair Ahmad Khan and other police officers arrived at the incident site. Heavy contingents of Army and police also arrived at the spot for patrolling. “Nobody has been arrested yet,” a police officer said.
A senior police officer, associated with counter-insurgency, said for past sometime, there have been no reports of militant activities in Bomai area. “There is no such input which suggests that there was movement of militants in the area,” he said.
Police said it is premature to say who was killed the Sarpanch. “We have registered a case and started investigation,” the police officer said.
A Srinagar-based police spokesman said earlier they found rivalry and political angles to attacks on Sarpanchs. “We will investigate all the angles and will let public know,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rajesh Kumar told Greater Kashmir that it is premature to say who killed Mir. “I alongwith SP and Dy SP were in the village after the killing. We have launched the investigation,” he said.
Pertinently, this is the fifth killing of a Panchayat representative in Kashmir in the past less than two years.
First to be killed was Ghulam Hasan Dar of Hajin area of Bandipora district in north Kashmir. According to police, he was making the ground to contest the Panchayat election but was shot on February 18, 2011 near Jhelum Bakery Hajin Bazar. The second killing was that of Haseena Begum of Pakherpora Budgam. She was killed at her residence on April 16, 2011. Haseena had filed her nomination papers when she was killed but police have not identified her party affiliation.
Sarpanch Ghulam Muhammad Dar of Machipora Kulgam was killed on February 2 last year. A recent case was the killing of Ghulam Muhammad Yatoo of Repora village in Palhalan Baramulla.
According to police figures, five Panchayat representatives also got injured in the attacks by gunmen in Pulwama, Baramulla and Shopian districts.
Most the killed and injured Sarpanchs and Panchs belong to ruling National Conference.

Soon after the killing, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter that the killing of Sarpanch was a cowardly attack. “Another cowardly attack on a Sarpanch. I have no doubt the police will get to the bottom of this one ASAP,” Omar tweeted. With inputs from Ghulam Muhammad

Lastupdate on : Fri, 11 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 11 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 12 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST

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