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Contesting candidate shot at, injured in Kokernag

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SEC, political leaders condemn attack

Srinagar: In the first attack on a District Development Council (DDC) election contestant in Jammu and Kashmir, militants shot at and injured an Apni Party candidate in Anantnag district on Friday, police said.

Aneesul Islam Ganaie was shot at by the militants in Sagam area of Kokernag in the south Kashmir district, a police official said.

Ganaie, who is contesting the ongoing DDC polls on an Apni Party ticket, sustained minor injuries to his hand and leg.

“Today at about 1200 hours Anantnag police received information about a terror crime incident at Sagam Kokernag area of District Anantnag, where terrorists had fired upon a DDC candidate. Senior police officers immediately reached the terror crime spot,” a police spokesperson said.

This was the first attack on a candidate contesting the eight-phase DDC polls in Jammu and Kashmir being held from November 28 to December 19.

The spokesperson said Ganaie was allocated cluster accommodation in Khanabal. “After the end of the scrutiny period, Ganaie was instructed to get escort personnel for campaigning purposes which he did not take,” he added.

The police spokesperson said all the candidates have already been instructed to inform the police before going out for campaigning.

“The information regarding Ganaie’s movement was neither conveyed to PCR nor to concerned police station,” he added.

IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar has requested all the candidates and vulnerable people to inform concerned PCRs or police stations as and when they are desirous of going for poll campaign or other such movements so that appropriate security arrangements are accordingly provided to them, he said.

Meanwhile, condemning the attack, the State Election Commissioner (SEC) K.K Sharma said that Ganaie had been advised by police on December 03 after scrutiny of nominations to get escort for campaigning which he unfortunately did not take. Sharma said that the candidate has suffered minor injuries and his condition is stable.

A case has been registered by the police and they have advised all the candidates to follow the security SOPs, SEC maintained and added that a security review of candidates is also being undertaken.

National Conference Vice President, Omar Abdullah in a tweet said that elections have always brought out the worst in those forces who have remained inimical to peace in Kashmir.

“Disturbing reports coming in from Kokernag in South Kashmir of an attack on a DDC election candidate. I hope & pray that he survives the attack. Elections have always brought out the worst in those forces who have remained inimical to peace in Kashmir,” Omar tweeted.

The former minister and Peoples Conference (PC) Chairman, Sajad Gani Lone, who is also the spokesman of Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), in a tweet said that the attack on the candidate is detestable, to say the least.

“The attack on a contesting DDC candidate is detestable to say the least. Violence has been the biggest facilitator in our disempowerment,” Lone tweeted.

CPI(M) leader MY Tarigami also condemned the attack saying  such acts suit none other than those who want less participation in polls so that the results of these elections can be manipulated, peoples grievances are not redressed and their voices not heard. “They want agonies and miseries of common man to remain unattended.”

In a statement here, Tarigami said “to vote or not to vote has been a topic of discussion for several years in Kashmir. History and experience sufficiently demonstrates that neither voting nor the boycott changed the political course of Kashmir. However, the boycott of elections virtually leads to disempowerment of people which is the reason that the political parties in J&K decided to participate in DDC polls though announced abruptly.”

He said that people must not succumb to such tactics as these have been going on for the last three decades. “There are pressures from the administration on ones side on voters and on the other such elements are harassing and threatening them,” Tarigami said.

Apni Party president Mohammad Altaf Bukhari also condemned the attack on party’s contesting candidate and said that such violent incidents add to the miseries and sufferings of people and cannot be condoned by anyone in civilized society across the world.

“This dastardly attack on our contesting candidate is a manifestation of frustration among forces inimical to peace and rising popularity of the Apni Party among the people,” he said while urging the government to take serious cognizance of this incident and take all necessary security measures in this regard.

Bukhari said those involved in this incident should not be allowed to go scot-free and the administration must identify and nab the culprits behind such attacks and book them under stringent laws.

Bukhari also sought a thorough security review for vulnerable political workers who reside in more violence-prone areas in J&K. “The J&K government should take a review of the security situation and take measures to prevent recurrence of such attacks in future,” he added.

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