In the first political killing in Kashmir since Lok Sabha elections were announced, suspected militants shot dead a Sarpanch affiliated to opposition Peoples Democratic Party in Pulwama district, police said today.
Two unidentified gunmen knocked at the door of Mohammad Amin Pandith at around 10.30 PM last night at Gulzarpora in Awantipora area, 32 km from here, and asked him to come out on the pretext of discussing some poll-related issues, police said. As soon as Pandith reached the main gate of his residential compound, the suspected militants shot him dead, the official said.
No militant outfit has claimed responsibility for the act. This is the first political killing in Jammu and Kashmir since the Election Commission announced the five-phased Lok Sabha polls in the state. Pulwama district, which is part of Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency, goes to polls on April 24 in the third phase. On Sunday, militants attacked the residence of a ruling National Conference youth leader in Khrew area of Pulwama district, killing two policemen before the two assailants were shot dead by the security forces.
Meanwhile, All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference (AJKPC) condemned Pandith's killing and described it as a "desperate attempt" by the terrorists to derail the ongoing election process. "We condemn the brutal killing of Muhammad Amin Pandit, a sarpanch of village Gulazarpora of district Awantipora in south Kashmir today. It is a desperate attempt of terrorists who are hell bent to derail the smooth electioneering process in the country," AJKPC chief Anil Sharma told reporters in Jammu.
Ruling National Conference and state unit of CPI(M) also condemned the killing, saying such incidents were not acceptable in any civilised society. "Such incidents are inhuman and unfortunate and the society must come out and express itself against such brutal acts of violence," CPI(M) state secretary M Y Tarigami said in a statement.
NC spokesperson Junaid Mattu demanded an enquiry into the killing. "Our heart goes out to victims of such violence and we share the grief of the bereaved family," he said