The militants on Thursday shot dead Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, a 73-year-old panch of ruling National Conference (NC) in Jammu and Kashmir, a day after five-phase parliamentary polls concluded in the state.
Police sources said two men on a bike stopped near the victim’s hardware shop, at Wanpoh in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
“The gunmen fired from point blank range after entering the panch’s shop. Bhat sustained multiple bullet injuries, and was shifted to a nearby hospital,” police said. Adding that the doctors referred him to S K Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura, Srinagar, for specialised treatment. However, the doctors declared him brought dead.
Immediately after the attack, the police, paramilitary, and army men rushed to the area, and launched a combing operation to flush out the militants responsible for the attack. However, no arrests were reported. This is the first attack on elected panchayat members in Kashmir. Four political workers, including the Congress sarpanch and a PDP sarpanch, were killed in South Kashmir, ahead of April 24 polling for Anantnag-Pulwama Lok Sabha seat.
The NC strongly condemned the killing. “We strongly condemn killing of Bhat,” NC spokesman said.