August 2002 News

Terror shadow on civilians

24 August 2002
The Statesman

New Delhi: Militants are expected to target civilians in J&K in the run-up to Assembly polls, government officials said. There are several reasons for this. Targeting candidates will be difficult because they have been provided with heavy security. Also, militants will hesitate to attack security forces for fear of casualties in encounters. Civilians will be easy prey and the attacks will spread terror. Consequently, voter turn-out will decrease. While anticipating escalation in violence as elections draw near, the government does not rule out attacks on candidates or security forces. In Dudasanbala, eight persons were killed by ultras late last night. Some of the victims are believed to be relatives of prospective NC candidates. With more persons joining the Third Front to contest the elections and militants’ threats increasing, it remains to be seen how many will ultimately join the fray. “Candidates are worried about the threat to their lives. But they are ready to contest. This is a positive sign. From our side, we are trying to provide them maximum security,” said a senior official handling Kashmir affairs. Despite the killing of so many NC block presidents over the past two-three months, more are ready to take the job, an official said. Fayaz Ahmed Bhatt and Ghulam Hassan Jaan were killed by militants in July-August in Tral. Their killing did not deter others from taking up their posts, he said. Baramulla sensitive: All 10 constituencies in Baramulla have been declared sensitive and hypersensitive, adds PTI from Baramulla. “We are taking no chances in view of the militants’ threat to disrupt polls in the state. We have declared all the constituencies as sensitive or hypersensitive,” said the district election officer. BJP announces poll list: The BJP’s central election committee today released its first list of 17 candidates for the first and second phase of polling in J&K. For the first phase of polling on 16 September, the candidates are Mohd Akbar Khan (Uri), Mr MM War (Rafiabad), Mr Damodar Singh (Baramulla), Mohd Ahsan Ali (Kargil), Mr Devraj Sharma (Darhal) and Mr Azhar Manhas (Surankote), reports SNS from New Delhi.


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