Municipal councillor, security guard shot dead by militants in Sopore
Baramulla: A municipal councillor and his personal security guard were shot dead by militants during a meeting of the urban local body in Sopore town of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Monday, police said.
Unidentified gunmen barged into the premises of the Sopore Municipal Council around 1.15 pm and fired indiscriminately at the councillors and security personnel while a meeting of the council was in progress, they added.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Sopore, Sudhanshu Verma said militants fired at the Municipal Council office in Sopore, where a meeting of the councillors and BDC chairperson was scheduled to be held.
“Municipal Councilor Reyaz Ahmad Peer, son of Ghulam Nabi Peer of Ningli Sopore; Shamsuddin Peer, son of Ghulam Mohammad Peer, and SPO Shafqat Nazir Khan, son of Nazir Ahmad of Mundji Sopore, were seriously injured in the attack,” he added.
The injured were evacuated to a nearby hospital, where councilor Reyaz Ahmad and SPO Shafqat Nazir succumbed to injuries while as another councilor Shamsuddin, who suffered a bullet injury in the thigh, has been referred to a hospital here for specialised treatment, officials said.
After the attack, Inspector general of Police (IGP) Kashmir, Vijay Kumar visited Sopore and inspected the scene of attack. He also chaired a security review meeting with Commander 5-Sector RR, DIG CRPF and SSP Sopore, a police spokesperson said.
Interacting with the officers, the IGP directed them to enhance security of vulnerable persons and to take all necessary measures. “IGP also took serious note of the poor and inappropriate retaliation by the PSOs of protected persons present on spot, and directed SSP Sopore to put four PSOs under suspension,” spokesperson said.
He also revealed that preliminary investigation indicates that a local militant Mudasir Pandit of proscribed outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) along with a foreign militant were involved in the attack.
Police has registered a case in this regard under relevant sections of law and officers continue to work to establish the full circumstances of this attack. Cordon and search operation at various locations is going on to nab the assailants, spokesperson said.
Attack evokes widespread condemnations
Cutting across party lines, the attack on the Municipal Councillors at Sopore evoked widespread condemnation from the mainstream political parties.
National Conference president and Member Parliament from Srinagar Dr. Farooq Abdullah, and vice-president Omar Abdullah condemned the killing, saying such brutality has no place in any emancipated society.
According to an NC press release, the duo termed the incident unfortunate and urged the police to investigate the case and nab the culprits behind the attack.
In a tweet, Omar Abdullah wrote: “News coming in of a militant attack on the municipal office in Sopore. My unequivocal condemnation of this attack together with my sympathies for the deceased & prayers for the injured.”
Condemning the attack, the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) described it as a mindless and shameful act.
“Such mindless and shameful acts are not acceptable and deserve strong condemnation from every section of the society,” it said in a statement and also urged the government to take “immediate effective measures to contain such inhuman and cowardly incidents”.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also condemned the incident.
“Kashmir has seen enough bloodshed and now, when it is trying to progress on developmental lines, terrorist organisations and their bosses are unnerved. But these ghastly acts will not succeed to bow down the morale of the BJP activists,” Ravinder Raina, the president of the Jammu and Kashmir unit of the saffron party, said.
BJP general secretary (organization) Ashok Kaul said “such barbaric and cowardly acts will not be tolerated anymore”.
“These attacks are aimed at disturbing the peace in the region. The incident is unfortunate and we urge the police to investigate the case and nab the culprits behind it,” he said.
Both the leaders expressed their solidarity with the family of the deceased and said the whole BJP family stands with them in this difficult hour.
CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said that violence in any form is condemnable and there is a need to put an immediate end to these civilian killings.
Apni Party provincial president Kashmir Mohammad Ashraf Mir said “this inhuman attack on elected representatives of the people can fetch nothing except for bringing more chaos and agony to the people.” He urged the government to take serious cognizance of this incident and take all precautionary measures for the security of activists irrespective of their political affiliations.
“This unfortunate incident has taken place when the whole world is going to observe Shab-e-Baraat. Kashmir has already witnessed enough of death and destruction in the last over three decades. Now this mindless violence should end somewhere so that people can heave a sigh of relief,” he remarked.