Srinagar: Preliminary investigations into the killing of sarpanch Javed Ahmad Wani in Baramulla district of Kashmir have brought to light that he could have been gunned down due to some personal rivalry and the role of his security guards is being investigated.
"What we have come to know so far is that a group of people including the deputy Sarpanch of the halqa (area) had a long discussion with Wani and had some heated arguments in the course of the meeting," Minister of State for Home Sajad Ahmad Kitchloo told PTI.
Kitchloo, who visited the bereaved family on Monday, said Wani and his visitors went out of the home and continued talking at length just outside the gate of this residence.
"The father of the deceased went for evening prayers and saw them in discussion. When he returned, they were still discussing some issues.
"Minutes later they heard some sound which they initially mistook for blast of electricity transformer. When they went out, they found Wani lying on the ground," the minister said.
The sarpanch was shot dead at around 7.40 pm yesterday in Kreeri area of Baramulla district.
He said all those who had visited Wani yesterday have been questioned by police and responsibility in the case will be fixed very soon.
"I have asked senior officials of the district to submit a detailed report about the incident within two days," he added.
Although involvement of militants has not been entirely ruled out, the investigators are trying to figure out why Wani had left his two personal guards in Srinagar while visiting his native village.
Following the killing of Panchayat members last year, Wani was given two personal security guards and an accommodation in Srinagar in view of high threat perception.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said Wani was a protected person and and the role of his security guards is being investigated.
"The murdered Sarpanch, Javed, was a protected person with bodyguards & secure accommodation in Srinagar a fact conveniently unreported," Omar wrote on the micro-blogging site Twitter.
"The circumstances surrounding location of his bodyguards is the subject of investigation," he added.
Wani`s murder is the fifth instance in the last six months in which a sarpanch has been killed in the state. While three sarpanches were killed in September last year, another was shot dead in January.