Sarpanch Gunned Down In Sopore

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SRINAGAR: A panchayat leader was gunned down in the northern township of Sopore on Friday in the first such attack in the New Year.

The gunmen shot 62-year-old Habibullah Mir several times in the neck at close range, and fled from the scene, reports said.

The heavily bleeding sarpanch was rushed to hospital by local residents, but succumbed to his injuries soon afterwards.

The sarpanch was said to belong to the Congress party, and condemnation of the killing has poured in from all mainstream groups, including the NC and the PDP.

The police said that armed attackers had struck when Mir was returning home after inspecting NREGA works at a nearby site.

A case under sections 302 of the RPC and 7/27 of the Arms Act has been registered in the Bommai police station in Sopore.

NC spokesman Tanvir Sadiq described the killing as inhuman and said that his party fully shared the grief of Mir’s family.

“An elected public representative has been killed,” the NC spokesman said. “This amounts to the killing of those who elect representatives to address their problems and difficulties.”

“Panches and sarpanches have been elected by a ninety per cent turnout,” he said. “Attacks on them are attacks on democracy.”

The state Congress chief, Prof Saifuddin Soz, too has condemned Mir’s killing, and called for severe punishment for those responsible.

Soz said that the incident was a matter of deep concern and alarm, and should be investigated swiftly to bring the killers to book.

The NC too has demanded prompt justice in the case.

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