A panchayat head was shot dead on Friday by suspected militants in Adoura in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, police said. This is the third such killing of a panchayat member in the last 10 days in the Union Territory.

In a press note, the Jammu and Kashmir Police said Shabir Ahmad Mir sustained critical gunshot injuries and was immediately shifted to a nearby hospital for treatment where he died. Mir was an independent panchayat member, according to The Indian Express.

On March 9, Sameer Bhat, a panchayat head of the Peoples Democratic Party, was killed at his home in the Khonmoh area of Srinagar.

On March 2, another panchayat member was shot of the Kolpora area in Srinagar by the panchayat head. The deceased, Mohammad Yaqoob Dar, was an Independent panchayat member of the Sundoo village.

In connection with Friday’s incident, the police said that an investigation is underway and a case was filed under relevant sections.

Kashmir Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar said that Mir was given accommodation at a secured hotel in Srinagar, but he left and went home without informing police personnel.

“All protect persons are advised to kindly follow standard operating procedures,” the Jammu and Kashmir Police quoted Kumar as saying in a tweet.

Political leaders in Jammu Kashmir condemned the incident.

National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah said he was shocked by the targeted killing of Mir.

“He [Mir] was an elected sarpanch from Kulgam district in South Kashmir,” Abdullah said. “What does it say about the security situation or the effectiveness of this much bragged about third tier of government that Shabir had to be housed in a secure hotel all the way in Srinagar?”

The Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP also targeted the government over the incident.

“Is this normalcy? Sarpanchs are assassinated at will and except for condolences, the government has nothing concrete to offer,” the party said. “Our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with the family in this hour of grief.”