SRI NAGAR: In a major setback to the government’s public outreach initiative in J&K, a sarpanch and a horticulture department officer were killed by militants in a blast in Anantnag district, where the ‘back-to-village’ programme was being held.
Sources said a blast took place at the panchayat ghar at Hakura village in Anantnag district on Monday afternoon.
Three persons sustained splinter injuries and were referred to the Government Medical College Hospital, Anantnag, where the two of them were declared brought dead.
The deceased were identified as sarpanch Rafiq Ahmed Sheikh and government officer Sheikh Zahoor. The injured was identified as Mehraj Ahmed.
The second phase of the ‘back-to-village’ programme started in J&K from November 25 and about 5,000 officers, including deputy commissioners, will reach out to the people in each panchayat.
A police officer said they are investigating whether it was a grenade attack or an IED explosion caused by militants.
Pressure on the state police is increasing as terrorists managed to sneak into Srinagar City, which witnessed a low-intensity blast in a market near Kashmir University in the Hazratbal area on Tuesday.
Three persons were injured in the explosion.
“All are stated to be stable,” an official said.
Meanwhile, two militants — a top Hizbul Mujahideen commander and his associate — were killed in a gunfight in Pulwama.
The gunfight started on Monday after a joint party of Army and CRPF stopped a vehicle in which some militants were travelling. The militants were identified as Irfan Ahmed Rather and Irfan Ahmed Sheikh alias Muzamil.
Shrine torched in Tral
Unknown persons set the shrine of Mir Syed Hamdan in Tral, Pulwama, on fire. J&K Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu condemned the incident and asked DGP Police Dilbagh Singh to strengthen security of shrines across the UT.