Municipal councillor, personal security guard shot dead by militants in J&K's Sopore

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Srinagar, Mar 29 (PTI) 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 Jammu and Kashmir's Baramulla district, police said.

Unidentified gunmen barged into the premises of the Sopore Municipal Council around 1.15 pm and shot at the councillors and security personnel while a meeting of the council was in progress, they added.

Independent councillor Reyaz Ahmad and his personal security guard Shafqat Ahmad were killed on the spot while another councillor Shamsuddin Peer was injured in the attack.

Peer, who suffered a bullet injury on the thigh, has been referred to a hospital here for specialised treatment, officials said.

In a statement, the BJP said it 'condemns the killing of its municipal councillor and a police officer by militants.' Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Zone) Vijay Kumar visited the scene of the attack and later chaired a review meeting with top security officials of the area.

Kumar directed that the four policemen posted on personal security of the protected persons be placed under suspension pending an inquiry into their conduct at the time of the attack.

A police official said preliminary investigation indicates that a local militant, Mudasir Pandit of Lashkar-e-Taiba and a foreign terrorist, were involved in the attack.

'Further investigations are rigorously going on. The IGP Kashmir also took serious note of the poor and inappropriate retaliation by the PSOs of protected persons present on spot and directed the SSP (Senior Superintendent of Police) Sopore to put four PSOs under suspension,' he said. He said cordon-and-search operations are going on at various locations to nab the assailants. The attack has evoked widespread condemnation from the mainstream political parties.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the party activists cannot be cowed down by such 'cowardly acts'.

'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.

National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah said in a tweet, '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. PTI MIJ TAS SMN SMN