NC block president shot at in Anantnag

Unknown gunmen shot at and injured the National Conference’s block president for Bijbehara area in southern Anantnag district on Thursday, officials said.

The incident took place on the day the election commission of India-appointed “special observers” arrived in Srinagar and held meetings with some mainstream political parties about holding the assembly elections in the state.

A source said that at around 5.45pm, gunmen opened fire on Muhammad Ismail (60) in Thajiwara village of Bijbehara, leaving him injured.

Ismail, who hails from nearby Dupatyar village, has been associated with NC for long and rose to become its block president for Bijbehara.

He was evacuated to sub-district hospital Bijbehara, where from he was referred to Srinagar for specialised treatment.

“He (Ismail) had two bullet injuries near each of his ribs and one superficial injury on the back side,” a doctor at the SDH told Greater Kashmir.

The police blamed militants for the attack.

“A case has been registered into the incident and investigations taken up,” a police spokesperson said.

He said a local police unit is at the spot and are probing the circumstances “which led to this incident”.

National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah prayed for speedy recovery of Wani.

“My colleague Mohd Ismail Wani, block president Bijbehara block in South Kashmir has been shot at and injured. He has been referred to Srinagar. Praying for his recovery,” Omar tweeted.

The attack on the political worker comes barely four days after the election commission of India (ECI) announced dates for the Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir, with the restive Anantnag parliamentary seat alone going for polls in three phases.

The government was not able to hold the by-elections due for the south Kashmir Lok Sabha seat in April 2017 due to the deteriorating security situation in the region.

The elections for the seat were necessitated after Mehbooba Mufti took over as chief minister in June 2016 following the death of his father Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.