Sarpanch Shot Dead in Srinagar, 2nd Panchayat Member to Die in Week

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Srinagar- In a second killing of a Panchayat member in a week, unidentified militants on Wednesday shot dead a Sarpanch inside his home in Khonmoh area of the city outskirts.

According to a police spokesperson, militants barged into the house of Sarpanch Sameer Ahmad Bhat in Khonmoh area of Srinagar on Wednesday evening and fired indiscriminately upon him. Bhat, he said, sustained critical gunshot injuries and was immediately shifted to nearby hospital for the treatment where he succumbed.

“The patient had received multiple gunshots in the precordial area. The doctors tried to resuscitate him with adrenaline but he didn’t show much improvement. He could not be operated upon and he succumbed to injuries,” SMHS Medical Superintendent, Dr Kanwaljeet Singh told Kashmir Observer.

According to the police spokesperson, senior police officers reached the spot to assess the situation. He said that the area has been cordoned off and a search operation was underway.

“Police have registered a case in this regard under relevant sections of law. Investigation is in progress and officers continue to work to establish the circumstances which lead to this terror crime,” he added.

Quoting police, news agency PTI reported that Bhat had been provided with security and lodged at a hotel in Srinagar but he had ventured out discreetly on Wednesday.

Bhat's killing comes a week after Mohammad Yaqoob Dar, a Panch from Sundoo village of Kulgam district was shot dead by militants on March 2.

Dar had received multiple gunshot injuries in the attack and succumbed to his injuries even before the doctors could operate upon him.

Earlier on February 28, Sheikh Firdous, a police inspector with the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) survived miraculously after being shot at and injured by militants in Batamaloo area of this capital city.
Meanwhile, Bhat's killing evoked strong reactions from various political parties.

The BJP's J-K spokesperson Altaf Thakur said the killing is a gruesome act which is highly deplorable and deserves all forms of condemnation.

The militants involved in the act are enemies of humanity and peace, who by killing unarmed civilians claim bravery, but in fact they are coward who feel frustrated by the grass root democracy flourishing in Kashmir, Thakur said.

"Condemn the attack on Sarpanch Sameer Ahmad Bhat in Khonmoh in the strongest possible terms. This senseless bloodshed must come to an end.... Heartfelt condolences to his family and friends, the National Conference (NC) wrote on Twitter.

The PDP also condemned the killing and said that contrary to the tall claims of the administration, such recurring attacks highlight the deteriorating security scenario in Kashmir.

"Strongly condemn the assassination of Sarpanch Khonmoh, Sameer Ahmed Bhat. Contrary to the tall claims of the administration such recurring attacks highlight the deteriorating security scenario in Kashmir. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family in this hour of grief, the party said in a tweet.

In a tweet, National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah said, "Very tragic. The assassination of Sameer Bhat is reprehensible & I condemn it unequivocally. He joins a long list of politicians & elected representatives whose only crime was their desire to work for the greater good."

The Peoples Conference also condemned the killing.

Strongly condemn the killing of sarpanch, Sameer Ahmad Bhat in Khonmoh. Days before, a representative was also shot to create sense of fear and terror. There seems no end to this ruthless violence. Condolences to the family of Sameer. May your soul rest in peace! the party said.

Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari said political workers have rendered great sacrifices to uphold democratic values in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Shocking beyond words, a Sarpanch was killed in Srinagar outskirts. Highly reprehensible act of violence. Political workers have rendered great sacrifices to uphold democratic values in J&K. My heart goes out to the victims of such violence and we share the grief of the bereaved, he said.

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