Two workers of the National Conference were shot dead and another was injured after being attacked by militants in the Habba Kadal area of downtown Srinagar.
Sources said 2 bikes bore militants attacked 3 workers of National conference in the interiors of Karfali Mohalla. Reports suggest one of them took out a weapon, reportedly (AK 47), and fired at them.
Eyewitnesses said, “All 3 were rushed to SMHS hospital for treatment where two of them succumbed,”. The victims were identified as Mushtaq Wani and Nazir Ahmad while the injured as Shakeel Zangoo.
Workers of NC were targeted by the militants when NC along with PDP already have announced not to contest the polls till the Centre and the state administration clarify their position on Article 35-A, which gives special rights to the people in the state and bars outsiders from owing immovable property.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah has strongly condemned the killing of his party workers.
Omar tweeted: “I cannot condemn strongly enough the murderous terrorist attack against three of my party workers. Nazir Ahmed Bhat (working in the office of MLA Shamima Firdous) & Mushtaq Ahmed Wani have been killed. Allah Jannat naseeb karey.”
He further said, “Shakeel Ahmad Zangoo has been injured & is in hospital. I pray for his complete & speedy recovery. May the families of Nazir, Mushtaq & Shakeel find strength in this most difficult time.”
The People's Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti also offered her condolences to the families of the deceased.
Omar also thanked Mehbooba, who also expressed pain over the incident. “Thank you for your kind words at this difficult time Mehbooba Mufti Sahiba. I’m sure your message of support will give the family some strength at this difficult time.”
Top security officials opine that “today’s incident will have the greater impact on the ground when it comes to people’s participation in polls is concerned. With these killing, more fear has been created among the voters and participants by the militant outfits,”.
He further added, police department have launched a hunt to nab the assailants and security has been beefed up in the entire summer capital.
Hizbul Mujahideen operational commander Riyaz Naikoo had threatened people interested in participating in the panchayat or municipal polls in an audio message.
On 28th August, In a video message, the Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo said those filing nominations should take along shrouds as well. “And remember, we have brought hydrochloric acid and sulphuric acid,” he said. “Be ready for that.”
Joint Hurriyat Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik has also called for a boycott of the elections.
The militant attack in a broad daylight attack comes just three days ahead of the first phase of local bodies elections in the state.
It is pertinent to mention that, the first phase of polling in the state will be held on October 8, followed by the second phase on October 10, the third phase on October 13 and the fourth and final phase on October 16. The counting of votes will be taken up on October 20.