Panchayat candidate shot dead
Not Sure About Militant Involvement: Police
MUDDASIR ALI/KHALID GUL
Srinagar, Apr 16: In the first such killing in the ongoing Panchayat elections, a woman candidate was gunned down by unidentified gunmen late Friday night in Karpora area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
Following the incident, many candidates for the second phase of elections have reportedly announced withdrawal from polls—a development termed as “mere rumour” by the police.
The deceased, Haseena Begum, wife of Muhammad Maqbool Ganaie was a Panch candidate from Karpora block for the second phase of Panchayat polls scheduled on April 17 in different districts of the state.
A police official said 40-year old Haseena, mother of four, was killed by unidentified gunmen between 11 pm to 11:30 pm in Karpora village Friday night.
“Some masked men carrying weapons had barged into the house of Haseena. She was asked by the men to accompany them to the village-head for giving in writing against contesting the election. Haseena had taken her elder son along,” said a police official on duty, Muhammad Maqbool, quoting family members and eyewitnesses.
“However on way to village-head’s house near a local mosque, she was shot twice in the chest resulting in serious injuries to her,” the police official said.
The police official said Haseena was rushed to Pulwama district hospital. “However she died on the way.” Her body was bought home early morning for last rites.
“A group of masked men carrying guns and lathis barged into our house at around 11 pm and asked my mother to come out. She begged before them to forgive her. But they asked her to come along with them to the village head and apologize in his presence. My mother agreed. When she left with them I also followed them but on reaching near a Masjid they fired bullets on her,” said Muhammad Umar, son of the slain woman.
Haseena’s is the first killing of any candidate contesting Panchayat elections in Kashmir. Although the elections are being fought on non-party basis, Haseena was affiliated with the People’s Democratic Party.
More than 85 percent polling was reported in the first phase of 16-phase Panchayat elections on April 13 which passed off peacefully. Following the elections, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had said the polls for local bodies should not be construed as a referendum for resolution of Kashmir issue.
A local new gatherer Manzoor Ahmad reported that following the incident, scores of candidates from Karpora and adjoining areas of Mohanpora and Main Pakherpora announced on loudspeakers against contesting the elections.
The candidates include Taja Begum, Muhammad Yousuf Wani, Feroz Ahmad Laway, Shagufta Begum, Nassema Begum, Habibullah Sheru and Rahti Begum, he reported, adding the announcements were going on till late in the evening.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Budgam, Uttam Chand said they were not sure about the involvement of militants in the killing.
“There may be some other reason for her killing. There is an aspect of family dispute too and that can’t be ruled out as the cause of the killing,” he said.
On reports that many candidates have announced against contesting the elections, the SSP said, “The rumours of the withdrawal of the candidates from the polls are far from truth as the date of withdrawal of nomination papers is already over.”
In a statement, police said it has registered a case and started investigation into the incident.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 16 Apr 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 16 Apr 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 17 Apr 2011 00:00:00 IST
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