January 2018 News

Hizbul Commander Naikoo Threatens To Blind Panchayat Poll Candidates

8 January 2018
The Indian Express
Mir Ehsan

Srinagar: A Hizbul Mujahideen commander in an audio clip has threatened to use acid against those contesting in panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir that are to be held next month. In an audio clip, Hizbul Mujahideen operational commander Riyaz Naikoo, who is based in south Kashmir, is seen telling another of the outfit's south Kashmir commanders, Sameer Tiger that a few drops of acid should be poured into the eyes of those who contest panchayat elections. Naikoo says the contestants will become a burden for their families. The Hizbul commander also says that in 2016 because of the pellets many youths lost their eyesight and young boys lost their lives and that now the militants were planning similar fate for those wanting to contest elections. In the clip, Naikoo also says that this time they will neither kill people nor will they issue threats to those who contest elections. 'We will go to their homes and pour acid in their eyes so that they will become a burden for their families,' he is heard sayin. The Hizbul commander further says that in villages many people are unaware about the repercussion of these polls and are being used by some political agents for their personal benefits. 'This time we will force them to reveal the names of those people who force them to contest elections.' Though separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani has already asked people to stay away from the panchayat elections, this is the first time since the government's announcement of polls that Hizbul Mujahideen has threatened possible election contestants. Reacting sharply to the threat, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and NC working president Omar Abdullah tweeted. 'If it isn't pellets it's acid. One way or the other people are threatened with being blinded.' Last month, after holding a meeting with Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti decided to hold panchayat elections from February 15. The last panchayat elections were held in 2011. In 2016, the elections couldn't be held due to the troubled situation in the Valley. Last year, the bypoll to the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat was deferred because of security reasons. Officials said elections will be held for more than 4,500 panchayats.

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