SRINAGAR: Amid simmering tension, poll-bound south Kashmir witnessed the first political killing today after unidentified gunmen abducted and later shot dead a former sarpanch.

Officials said the incident took place in south Kashmir's Pulwama district on Monday morning where a group of gunmen abducted the former sarpanch from his home in Kakpora village.

"The family were apprehensive of their actions but the gunmen apparently told them that he will be returned to them soon," a senior police officer in Pulwama said, wishing anonymity.

The officer said the body of the deceased identified as Fayaz Ahmad was later found in the adjoining Chewa Kalan area by locals and it has been sent to a local hospital for post-mortem examination.

"We have identified the killers behind the crime and efforts are on to nab them. Police has registered a case in the matter and investigations are underway," a J&K Police spokesperson said in a statement.

The killing comes days after two militants were killed in an encounter with government forces in the same area. Militants have been repeatedly warning locals against tipping off forces about their locations.

The south Kashmir districts of Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian and Anantnag will go to polls on April 12 to decide their candidate for Lok Sabha. The seat had fallen vacant after Mehbooba Mufti resigned to take over reins of J&K.

The four districts, which remained the epicentre of last year's civilian uprising, have witnessed heightened violence in the last two months with nearly two dozen militants killed during counter insurgency operations.

Meanwhile, authorities have placed the top Hurriyat trio of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik either under house arrest or behind bars to foil a sit-in called by them.

The Hurriyat trio had today called a sit-in at Srinagar's Lal Chowk to protest against the plight of prisoners held in different jails of the state as well as outside.

Authorities have responded to the call by placing all of the leaders including JKNF's Nayeem Khan under house arrest while severe restrictions have been imposed in the city centre to foil any protest.

(Cover Photograph BASIT ZARGAR of Tral encounter)