A DAY after a former sarpanch of the ruling PDP, Mohammad Ramzan Sheikh, 50, was killed by militants in Humhuna village of Shopian district, his house was set on fire by a mob on Tuesday. Sheikh, a block-level PDP worker, was shot in an attack by three militants on Monday. One of the militants later died in a scuffle with Sheikh’s family members and neighbours. Police claimed the militant — identified as Showkat Ahmad Kumar, a resident of Trenz village, about 4 km from Humhuna village — died after he was hit by his own bullet.
The mob on Tuesday was reportedly angry at Kumar’s death. According to reports, a large number of people attended Kumar’s funeral on Tuesday afternoon, after which they walked to Humhuna village and set Sheikh’s house on fire. State Director General of Police S P Vaid said the mob was instigated by militants. “The family has been rescued by police and security forces. Strict action will be taken against the perpetrators,” he said.
Police said the mob surrounded Sheikh’s house at about 4 pm on Tuesday, set it on fire, and then fled the spot. By the time the police and fire tenders reached the area, the house, as well as the adjoining cow shed, had been razed to the ground.
“About 300-400 people gathered around the former sarpanch’s house and set it on fire. The people were angry that the militant had been attacked by his family members,’’ said a villager. “By the time the Army, police and fire tenders reached the village, the house had been completely burnt down.’’ Condemning the incident, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said such acts cannot justify or achieve any political goals.
Former Chief Minister and NC working president Omar Abdullah also condemned the incident. “Killing him in cold blood wasn’t enough? His house had to be set on fire as well!! No words strong enough to condemn this lawlessness,’’ he tweeted. According to the police, Kumar was with the Hizbul Mujahideen and had joined militancy in October last year.