Unidentified gunmen shot dead a sarpanch in Kreeri area of Baramulla district of Jammu and kashmir on Sunday evening when people were preparing for late night prayers. With this killing, the total number of sarpanches killed since the elections were held for the grassroots level representatives last year after a gap of more than two decades, has risen to eight.
MOHAMMAD SHAFI Teli, 40 was shot twice in the chest in the Nowpora village of northern Kashmir's Baramulla district. According to reports, Mr Teli later succumbed to injuries in the sub-district hospital.
Ghulam Hassan, a local told ANI: “As the call for evening prayers started coming out of the mosque, two gunshots were heard from near Ghulam Nabi Wani's (another local) house. We were sitting inside our house and then people rushed to the spot. And then everyone said that he (Mr Shafi) is dead.”
Sarpanches have lately become easy targets of unidentified gunmen in Kashmir valley and threats to their (Sarpanches) lives have led to more than 300 resignations across the valley. No militant organisation has so far claimed the responsibility for the attacks.
Pertinent to mention, in a recent interaction with the chief minister Omar Abdullah, various sarpanches and panches blamed his party (National Conference) for the attacks. According to various media reports, local MLAs and sarpanches have had tiffs over the power sharing arrangements.
Killings often remain shrouded in mystery in valley and the killing of sarpanches has been no exception. So far, police have failed to make any arrests in these deaths. Elections to panchayat bodies were held in the state in 2011 after a gap of more than 20 years.