Sarpanch Killed, PSO Was Absent

Sarpanch Killed, PSO Was Absent

24 February 2013
The Daily Excelsior


Srinagar: Militants this evening shot dead a National Conference (NC) worker and Sarpanch in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district, police said here. He is the first Panchayat member who fell to the militant bullets despite having security. Police said that 48-year old National Conference worker and Sarpanch of village Kalantra, Payeen in Kreeri area of Baramulla district, Javed Ahmad Wani, son of Bashir Ahmad Wani, was shot at by unidentified militants at around 7:30 p.m. outside his house. Police sources said that two militants intercepted Wani in the village and fired at him from close range. He received three bullets, one each in chest, abdomen and hand. “He was immediately removed to Kreeri Hospital in Baramulla where doctors declared him brought dead”, they added. They said that both Wani and his 75-year-old father were guarded by one PSO each. He was living in Government accommodation at Tulsibagh in Srinagar along with his son, daughter and wife since 2010 when his house was attacked by stone pelters in 2010. He was said to be close to NC MLC Ali Mohammad Dar and used to visit his native village occasionally. Police sources said that Constable Sajjad Ahmad was attached with Wani while Constable Abdul Majid was attached with his father. “The PSO was not with him when he was attacked by militants”, they added. This is the second killing of a Sarpanch in North Kashmir this year. Earlier, militants killed a senior Congress workers and Sarpanch Habibullah Mir of Gooripora Bomai in Sopore area of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district on January 12. He was shot at point-blank range when he was supervising construction work near a local Masjid. A day after Mir was killed, another Panchayat member, Zooni Begam, was shot at in similar circumstances in a nearby Hardshiva village of Sopore. Zooni survived the attack and is being treated in the intensive care unit of SKIMS hospital in Srinagar. Two back to back attacks in the area spread panic among the Panchayat members of the area. Over 100 of them resigned in the aftermath of the attacks taking the number of resignations due to militant threats since last year to around 1600. Today’s killing of Sarpanch in Baramulla district came after six Panchayat members resigned in the South Kashmir district of Shopian following fresh militant threats early this week. Sarpanch Ghulam Mohammad Shah and Panches Bashir Ahmad Gania, Fayaz Ahmad Ganai, Javed Ahmad Bhat, Shabnam Akhtar and Naseema Bano announced their resignation in Jamia Masjid of village Ayand Rawalpora in South Kashmir’s Shopian district on Friday. They were threatened by militants after they barged into their houses early this week during the night and asked them to resign or face consequences. Over 1600 Panchayat members resigned since the elections to the Panchayat that were held in 2011 between April and June. Over 33,000 Sarpanchs and Panchs were elected in these elections in the State that were held after a gap of 34 years. Despite militant threats a record number of over 80 per cent people voted in these grass root level democratic institutions. Army and police are patrolling in sensitive areas of Kashmir valley to give a sense of security to the Panchayat members after militant threats in which 5 Panchayat members were killed during last over a year.