A sarpanch affiliated to the ruling National Conference was shot dead by suspected militants in north Kashmir's Baramulla district on Monday evening, the police said. No militant outfit has however claimed responsibility for the killing.
The police said Ghulam Nabi Yatoo was shot in the Pattan area on his way home after prayers at a mosque in Raepora Kalan, 30km from Srinagar.
"He was rushed to the sub-district hospital in Pattan where doctors pronounced him dead," a police spokesperson said.
State government officials said security cannot be offered to all panchayat members but protection can be given in specific cases. "In this case, security was offered but he refused it," said a senior police officer who did not want to be named.
Monday's attack came two days after a special police officer was killed and an armyman wounded in a shootout in Sopore town, 45 km from Srinagar.
Yatoo's killing is part of a surge in militancy-related violence in which at least 10 panches and sarpanches have been killed in the Valley over the past year since panchayat elections were held in Jammu and Kashmir.
Posters and threat letters from various militant organisations have appeared lately in north and south Kashmir, warning panches and sarpanches to resign from their posts or face dire consequences.
Many panches and sarpanches have publicised their 'resignations' through paid advertisements in local dailies.
Last month an unknown organisation, Al-Qaeda Mujahideen, surfaced in Shopian district but its poster was dismissed by the authorities as a prank.
Five panches and sarpanches of south Kashmir's Tral area, about 40km from Srinagar had resigned and publicly offered an apology after a sarpanch of the area, Qutubuddin, was attacked on August 26 this year.