Sarpanch gunned down in Kashmir

Last Updated: Sun, Feb 24, 2013 16:20 hrs

Srinagar, Feb 24 (IANS) A village sarpanch (headman) was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Kashmir's Baramulla district Sunday, police said.

Javaid Ahmad Wani was shot at and critically injured in the attack by unidentified gunmen Sunday evening in Kalantara Payeen village in Baramulla.

"He was immediately taken to a nearby hospital where he died of his critical injuries," a senior police officer told IANS.

Sources in the village said Wani belonged to the ruling National Conference (NC) party.

Sarpanches and Panches (village council heads and members) across the Kashmir Valley have been demanding security cover following killings of five of them by separatist guerrillas in different areas since the elections to the village councils (Panchayats) in 2011.

The state government has said areas with known presence of guerrillas are being dominated by the security forces to provide overall security to village council members since it was not administratively possible to give individual security to over 30,000 elected panches and sarpanches.

Held in 2011 after a gap of over 20 years, the panchayat elections saw an overwhelming majority of people voting.

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