Two blasts rocked Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag and Srinagar districts on Tuesday (November 26), killing two people and injuring seven.
Militants killed a sarpanch and a horticulture department officer during a “back-to-village” programme in south Kashmir’s Anantnag, an incident which may deal a blow to the government’s much-acclaimed public outreach initiative in some militancy-hit areas.
The Additional Deputy Commissioner of Anantnag, who was leading the meeting with villagers at Badazgam, was escorted out of the venue safely as security personnel engaged with the militants, officials said.
Three persons — village sarpanch Rafiq Shah and government employees Manzoor Parray and Zahoor Ahmed Sheikh — suffered injuring and were rushed to the district hospital, they said. Shah and Sheikh died at the hospital. Parray was rushed to a hospital in Srinagar and his condition was stated to be critical, the officials said.
Other government officials, including Joint Director (Education) Bilal Khursheed, were taken away from the venue. The second phase of “back-to-village” programme started from November 25 after the first Lieutenant Governor of the newly created Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, GC Murmu, said 5,000 officers will reach out to the people in each panchayat.
The first phase of the first-of-its-kind initiative to reach out to the people at the grassroots was held from June 20 to 27 across 4,483 panchayats. The first phase drew good response from the public.
However, Tuesday’s incident in Anantnag may push the government to revisit the programme in Kashmir Valley, especially in the militancy-hit south Kashmir, the officials said.
Similarly, in Srinagar, an explosion took place in the market near Sir Syed gate of Kashmir University in Hazratbal. “Three persons were injured in the explosion. All are stated to be stable,” the official added.
According to reports, this is s second such incident in this month. A grenade was thrown by terrorists exploded near the varsity gate. However, further investigations are on.
The attack comes a day after the Jammu and Kashmir police issued a warning to the people of the valley not go near encounter areas.
On November 5, one person was killed and over 40 others, including nine women, injured in a grenade attack in the Lalchowk area.
Jammu and Kashmir has been placed under security lockdown since the Centre’s August 5 move when it decided to revoke the erstwhile state’s special status via Article 370.
(With inputs from agencies)