In the first such incident in the ongoing 8-phase election for District Development Councils (DDCs) and local bodies across Jammu and Kashmir, terrorists on Friday shot and injured a candidate in the Kokernag area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
The injured candidate, Anees-ul-Islam is contesting DDC election from the Sangam block of Anantnag district.
The terror attack came around the noon when the candidate received injury on his finger and thigh after which he was rushed to the hospital. His condition is stated to be stable, police said.
Anees had filed his papers as an independent but is reported to have recently joined the J&K Apni Party which is considered friendly towards BJP.
Polling was today held for 33 DDC seats including 16 in Kashmir and 17 in Jammu division.
Security forces, including the Army, CRPF and J&K Police, immediately cordoned the area and launched search for terrorists.
Police said that Anees was asked to reside in the secured Khanabal camp and go for campaigning with police escort. However, he did not inform the police about his plans to move out. His movement was neither conveyed to the police control room or the concerned police station.
State election commissioner KK Sharma while condemning the attack said security of candidates is being reviewed.
Reacting to the terror attack, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah tweeted; “Elections have always brought out the worst in those forces who have remained inimical to peace in Kashmir”.
Spokesman of the Gupkar Alliance, Sajad Lone tweeted; “The attack on a contesting DDC candidate is detestable to say the least. Violence has been the biggest facilitator in our disempowerment”.
Meanwhile, nearly 44% votes were cast till 1 pm, an hour before conclusion of polling.
According to the state election commission, 25% votes were cast in the Kashmir valley till 1 pm whereas 60.52% polling was recorded in the Jammu division.
The Anantnag district where the terror attack came had recorded 13.11% voting till 1 pm.
Kulgam in south Kashmir recorded highest polling of 58.76% till the noon in the valley. Pulwama like the past two phases witnessed lowest polling of 9.31% till 1 pm.
Highest polling in the Jammu division was till the noon recorded in the Poonch district where 83.07% votes were cast.
As many as 2046 polling stations, 792 in the Jammu division and 1254 in Kashmir, were set up for the conduct of elections in a smooth manner, a spokesman of the election office said.
Meanwhile, the police has arrested a man identified as Gaurav Sharma and seized Rs.58, 695 that he was allegedly carrying to lure voters in the village Patniyal in the Domana block of Jammu district.