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|September 7, 1999||
BJP's candidate in Anantnag, 2 others killed
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
Ghulam Hyder Noorani, the Bharatiya Janata Party's candidate for the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat in south Kashmir, was killed along with his driver and a party worker while his personal security officer (PSO) was critically wounded in a powerful mine blast in Village Thajwar near Bejibehara late this evening.
A top police officer told rediff.com that Noorani was returning after an election meeting when his heavily escorted car hit a landmine at Thajwar, killing him and two others who have been identified as Ghulam Rasool, a close associate, and driver Showkat Ahmad.
Noorani's PSO, who was critically injured, was shifted to Srinagar for specialised treatment. His condition is said to be very serious.
As news of the incident was flashed to the district headquarters at Anantnag, the district police chief and senior officers of the security forces rushed to the spot with troops. The area was cordoned off and a massive search has been launched in the area to track down the culprits.
Late tonight, the police shifted the bodies to Bejibehara for post-mortem examinations. Sources said there is tension in the villages in Bejibehara. Anantnag was to go to the polls on September 18.
This is the first time militants have targeted a candidate during electioneering in Kashmir. Earlier, the separatists had stepped up their attacks in the northern Kupwara district where they targeted several military camps.
Noorani had fled the Kashmir valley following the eruption of the separatist militancy in 1990. He was abducted by the extremists once, but released without harm. At that time Noorani was associated with the Congress. He later quit the Congress to join the BJP and become its general secretary in Kashmir.
Noorani returned to Kashmir in 1995 after the government provided him security and accommodation in a high-security area in Srinagar.
Sources said his body was taken to Anantnag and would be buried in his home town Kulgam tomorrow.
The overall security situation in Kashmir was reviewed at a high-level meeting in Srinagar this evening. The administration has ordered increased security cover for all candidates in the two constituencies of Anantnag and Baramullah. More PSOs are being provided to the candidates.
Sources in Srinagar admitted that the killing had triggered tension in south Kashmir and could affect voter turnout adversely. Turnout in the Srinagar constituency on Sunday in the first phase of election was also very poor.
Meanwhile, in a separate incident yesterday, an army subedar (a rank equivalent to sergeant) gunned down two of his colleagues in a camp at Village Chowkibal in Kupwara district.
Police said the subedar after a fight with the two soldiers took out his service rifle and sprayed bullets, killing both of them.
The subedar has been arrested and a case has been registered against him.
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