Communist party member shot in Kashmir
SRINAGAR: A Communist party official was shot dead and six people were injured in a separate bomb blast by suspected militants, police said on Wednesday before the next round of the first municipal elections in Kashmir in 27 years.
Police said militants shot Ghulam Hassan in southern Anantnag district Tuesday after they failed to find his daughter-in-law who had recently been elected as municipal councillor in the district. The killing comes ahead of the sixth round of civic elections on Thursday in the two border districts of Rajouri and Poonch in southern Kashmir. The final seventh round of voting will be held May or June in the snow-bound districts of Leh and Kargil.
However in the lead-up to voting, militants have bombed rallies and killed candidates, party workers and elected officials, in an effort to scuttle the elections. But no violence was reported on poll days in the five previous rounds.
The killings have terrified winners and candidates with many placing notices in newspapers vowing to have nothing further to do with politics in a bid to avoid rebel attacks. It was however not clear how many had actually quit.
Last week, the main opposition National Conference warned its councillors elected so far would step down if they did not get police protection. Councillors and family members are asking forgiveness from guerrillas in newspaper advertisements in the insurgency-racked region.
“I’m making a passionate promise to every militant group that I will have no relationship whatsoever with politics,” said Ghulam Rasool Khan, a councillor, in an ad placed in a daily in Srinagar. agencies