Sarpanch Murder: Locals Smell Foul

KL Report

SRINAGAR

Locals at Naznenpora in South Kashmir’s Shopian district Monday alleged that Sarpanch Muhammad Sultan was murdered in presence of Army and militants can’t be blamed for this gruesome act.

Sarpanch, Muhammad Sultan Bhat was killed by unidentified gunmen at Naznenpora Shopian on Sunday evening. The blood ridden body of Bhat was found in his vehicle few yards away from his residence.

 Locals said that shortly before the incident, Army soldiers from nearby 44 RR camp had appeared in the area directing inhabitants to stay indoors. Amy even checked the identity cards of locals who were returning to home from Shopian market. “At 8:30 on Sunday evening, Army appeared in the village asking people to stay indoors. At 9:6 pm, we heard five to six gun shots. At 9:30 people came on roads and found the dead body of Sarpanch lying in private vehicle with one of its door open,” locals said adding that they never observed the activity of any militant in the area from past decade.

“Everyone here knew that National Conference Sarpanch Muhammad Sultan Bhat was not in the good books of Army. He (Sarpanch) never obliged them (Army) when they asked him to visit the camp,” one of the relatives of slain Sarpanch said.

The brother of the Slain Sarpanch asked how come it is possible for militants to strike in presence of Army. “Army was present in the village asking people to stay indoors. Amid their presence, my brother was murdered in cold blood. I don’t believe in the theory that my brother was killed by militants,” he said and demanded thorough probe into the murder of his brother.

 The slain Sarpanch is survived by his wife and five little children including four daughters. According to locals, he had joined National Conference in 2008 but had recently parted ways with the party after it side lined District President Shopian Shabir Ahmed Kullay. Kullay who is contesting election as independent candidate had convened a meeting of his workers at Keegam that was attended by the slain Sarpanch also. Soon after leaving the meeting hall, Bhat according to police sources who was driving a Sentro car was intercepted by unknown gunmen and was shot dead.

Kulley said that the killing occurred at the behest of National Conference and PDP as these parties want to enforce boycott in the area. “The slain Sarpanch was my colleague and we both had quit NC. Political parties especially NC was frustrated the way we garnered the support of people in the Constituency and it eliminated him,” Kullay claimed and added that both NC and PDP want people to stay away from poll process. (CNS)

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