October 2002 News

Terror at home in Lolab, nominees keep away

6 October 2002
The Indian Express
Nazir Masoodi

Lolab: All contestants from Lolab are stationed outside their constituency — Kupwara town. They seldom come visiting after J-K Law Minister Mushtaq Ahmad Lone was assassinated on September 11. Ever since, no political party has organised a political rally here. Lone was assassinated while addressing an election rally at Tikipora. An explosion took place at Block Development Office in Sogam, damaging a building in the morning. This was the third explosion triggered by militants in the last three days. Yesterday, four security forces personnel were killed in an IED blast near Higher Secondary School in Sogam. A little ahead of Sogam, firing was on between militants and security forces in Patushie forests. Security forces were patrolling Kupwara-Sogam road where vehicles were being checked and passengers frisked. Barring two rallies outside Lolab — Machil near LoC and Hyhama — by the NC, there was no election rally in Lolab valley which comprises 80 per cent of the constituency. PC candidate Khan said: ‘‘Threat perception is high in Lolab. But people know who they have to vote for,’’ he said. At Sogam, the village of NC nominee Qaisar Jameed Lone, a considerable number of people supported the NC and were willing to cast their vote. ‘‘We will vote but the turnout will be lesser than that of 1996 elections,’’ said Irshad Ahmad, a youth from Sogam.


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