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Sarpanch shot dead in Kulgam

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Encounter breaks out in Pulwama

Kulgam: A Sarpanch was shot dead by unidentified militants at Audura area of Kulgam on Friday while as an encounter has started in Pulwama district late evening.

Official sources said that a Sarpanch identified as Shabir Ahmad Mir, son of Abdullah Mir was fired upon by unidentified terrorists at Audura area.

He was immediately taken to hospital where doctors declared him brought dead.

This is the third killing of a local elected representative by militants in Jammu and Kashmir this month.

One of the officials said, “At about 8:50 pm, terrorists fired upon Shabir Ahmad Mir near his residence in Adoura in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district.”

They said Mir was taken to a hospital where doctors declared him dead on arrival.

The area has been cordoned off and a hunt launched to nab the attackers, the officials said.

The killing drew condemnations from political parties.

National Conference vice president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, “Shocked by the targeted killing of Sarpanch Shabir Ahmed Mir. Political workers get killed, we offer our condolences, life goes on and then the same thing happens again. There is a mind-numbing pattern to these killings & our reactions. Sadly nothing changes.

“I can only offer my condolences to Shabir’s family & my prayers that he finds place in Jannat. I wish his death was the last one we would see but sadly that will not be.”

“Strongly condemn the killing of a sarpanch in Kulgam. May the killers rot in Hell,” Peoples Conference chief Sajad Lone said in a tweet.

The Peoples Conference said it was worrisome that public representatives were continuously being targeted to spread fear.

The National Conference (NC) expressed shock over the killing.

“Deeply saddened & shocked by the barbaric attack on Sarpanch Shabir Ah Mir in Audura, Kulgam in which he lost his life. We condemn in the most vigorous way this cowardly attack & express our deepest condolences to the family of the deceased. May Allah grant him a place in Jannat,” the party said on Twitter.

The BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir spokesman Altaf Thakur termed the killing barbaric and a cowardice act.

“It is an attack on democracy and such attacks won’t be tolerated,” he said.

Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari termed the attack dastardly and inhumane.

“Extremely saddened by this dastardly, inhumane attack on a Sarpanch in Kulgam. I unequivocally condemn this terror attack on a grassroots political worker. This is a second attack on a Panchayat representative in last two days in the Valley,” Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari wrote on Twitter.

On March 9, Sameer Bhat, a sarpanch was shot dead by militants in the outskirts of Srinagar while as a panchayat member, Mohammad Yaqub Dar was shot dead in Srandoo area of Kulgam on March 02.

Meanwhile, an encounter between militants and security forces started in Pulwama district late Friday evening.

“Encounter has started at Chewaklan area of Pulwama. Police and security forces are on the job. Further details shall follow,” Kashmir Zone Police tweeted.

Acting on specific inputs about the presence of terrorists in the Chewaklan area of the south Kashmir district, security forces launched a cordon and search operation, a police official said.

He said the search operation turned into an encounter after the terrorists fired upon the forces.

The exchange of firing was going on and further details were awaited, the official added.

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