Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
The Nationalist Congress Party candidate from Devsar assembly constituency was badly injured in a powerful landmine blast that killed four persons, including her father and a policeman, at Village Pahloo in the southern Kashmir district of Anantnag late on Saturday afternoon.
The candidate, Khalida Mushtaq, was flown to the Soura Medical Institute in Srinagar in the evening. A doctor on duty there said she was admitted to the surgical intensive care unit and her condition remains critical.
Khalida was on her way from Zagalpora to Devsar on the campaign trail when their vehicle hit the landmine near Pahloo, killing four persons on the spot.
Those killed were Khalida's father Mushtaq Ahmad, Constable Noor Mohammad, and two NCP activists, Jehangir Beg and Mohammad Yaqoob Beg. All of them were travelling in a Tata Sumo (JK-03 1833). The blast destroyed the utility vehicle. Three persons --- Khalida, her bodyguard, and a bystander Liaquat Ali --- received serious injuries.
Liaquat Ali was taken to the local hospital in Devsar for treatment, but he too was later taken to Srinagar.
The Press Trust of India said a little-known group called Al-Arifeen claimed responsibility for the attack, the third one on candidates contesting the Jammu and Kashmir assembly election. Law Minister Mushtaq Ahmad Lone and an independent candidate from Baramulla were killed in the earlier attacks.
In a separate incident, militants late on Saturday afternoon hurled a grenade near the bus stand at Sirhama in Anantnag district, injuring three civilians.
On Friday night militants fired a rocket on the heavily guarded house of the National Conference candidate from Kokernag, Peerzada Abdul Rashid, at Village Peer Takiya Kokernag. No one was injured in the attack, but the upper story of the house was damaged.
The Press Trust of India adds: Militants hurled a grenade at an election rally being addressed by independent candidate Basheer Asad Bhat at Sirhama in Bijbehara, injuring three security personnel and a civilian. Bhat, however, escaped unhurt.
Four persons were injured when militants lobbed two grenades at a Congress election rally at Srigufwara in the same constituency.
Abdul Majid Mir, National Conference MLA and a candidate from Shangus constituency, escaped unhurt when militants lobbed a grenade at his residence at 1230 IST. One person was injured in the blast, a police spokesman said.
Militants fired rockets on the house of the National Conference candidate from Kokernag, Syed Abdul Rashid, in Qazigund, damaging it. Rashid was not at home at the time of the attack.
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