Polling Prelude: Kashmir Shaken by Twin Attacks, Casualties Reported

Former sarpanch Aijaz Ahmad Sheikh was shot at at Hurpura village in Shopian district. He later died in hospital. A couple from Rajasthan was also injured in a separate incident in Anantnag.

A former sarpanch was killed and a couple from Rajasthan was injured in firing by terrorists in two separate incidents in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, two days before polling.
The country is in the middle of a marathon six-week general election. Four rounds are over, three more remain. The votes will be counted on June 4.

Former sarpanch Aijaz Ahmad Sheikh was shot at at Hurpura village in Shopian district. He later died in hospital. A couple from Rajasthan was also injured in a separate incident in Anantnag.

“He (sarpanch) was shifted to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Terrorists also fired at a tourist couple from Jaipur identified as Tabriz and his wife Farha in the Yannar area of Anantnag district. The injured couple has been shifted to the hospital for treatment. The area has been cordoned off for searches,” said an official.

The back-to-back attacks come at a time when campaigning for the parliamentary polls in the Anantnag-Rajouri seat is going on.

Voting for the Udhampur and Jammu seats concluded on April 19 and 26, respectively, while in Srinagar, voting was done on May 13. The Baramulla seat will vote on May 20, while the Anantnag-Rajouri seat will vote on May 25.

Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, including the National Conference, PDP and the BJP, condemned the attacks.

Former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, who is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from the Anantnag-Rajouri seat, said on X, “While we condemn the attack in Pahalgam today that resulted in injuries to two tourists followed by another attack on a (former) sarpanch in Hirpora, Shopian – the timing of these attacks given that the south election was delayed without any reason is a cause of concern. Especially keeping in mind normalcy claims touted by GOI (Government of India).”

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and vice president Omar Abdullah also condemned the terror attacks. “They have said that such acts of brutality remain a serious impediment to achieving long-term peace in J-K. They urged all communities to come together in these challenging times and support efforts towards lasting harmony. Their thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families during this difficult period,” a statement from the party said.

The BJP in a statement said, “We strongly condemn the killing of ex-sarpanch Aijaz Ahmad Sheikh in Hirpora, Shopian, South Kashmir, by terrorists today.” “Aijaz Ahmad was a brave soldier of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP firmly stands with the family of Aijaz Ahmad, who lost his life in this terror attack,” it said.

Late last month, a government employee was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in a targeted attack as he came out of a mosque at Shadra Sharief area of Rajouri. He died of his injuries in a hospital.

On April 17, a migrant worker from Bihar was shot dead by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district. Source

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