April 2006 News

Yet Another Killing Shakes Valley's Politicians

5 April 2006
The Indian Express

Srinagar: The spate of political killings started soon after the election dates were announced for the three Assembly constituencies in North Kashmir. In three days, militants gunned down three political workers, including two councillors at Baramulla and Sopore. These killings have left the security agencies in a shock especially with the by-elections inching closer.Today's broad daylight killing of Mohammad Yosuf Dastigeeri, a formerSwami League leader and close aide of PDP leader Mohammad Dilwar Mir who is contesting by elections from Rafiabad constituency, has further scared the political workers of various organizations that are readying its cadres for the forthcoming elections. The top police officials today held a special meeting in Baramulla today to review the security arrangements for all the places that are going for polls in the next few weeks. We are not taking any chances. And additional deployments would be placed in the constituencies, said a senior police officer. Also the security of political leaders and councillors would be increased. In fact, the police have asked the councillors to use the safe accommodation provided to them at the Police lines. Though some of them are staying at the Police Lines, the majority like to stay put at their residences, thus making them prone to militant threats. Though both Carmella and Sopore townships have seen civilian killings in the past few months, it's only now that the militants have again begun targeting politicians. Apart from Sangrama, Rafiabad and Pattan Assembly segments are also going to polls. Both People's Democratic Party and National Conference have announced the names of their party candidates and begun campaigning in right earnest. But the spate of killings has left the political leaders and their supporters scared. In fact, some politicians have asked for more protection after these killings. 'Three politicians were gunned down, i's a cause of worry,' said a senior Congress leader in Baramulla. Militants are targeting soft targets, especially the workers who have no or very less security, he said. If the government is serious, the leaders especially councillors, should be provided adequate security. Meanwhile, JK's financial commissioner, home, today paid a surprise visit to Baramulla and held a meeting with senior district and police officials. Sources said matters regarding security and election arrangements were also discussed in the meeting.


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