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Three militants killed in Pulwama ahead of the fifth phase of District Development Council elections

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Srinagar: Ahead of the fifth phase of District Development Council elections on Thursday, three militants were killed in an encounter in Pulwama of southern Kashmir and six civilians were injured in an explosion in Pattan area of northern Kashmir.

These incidents a day before the election could have an impact on the turnout as some areas in both the districts are going for polls.

J&K police officials said the three militants associated with Al Badr outfit were killed in an encounter in Tikin area of Pulwama. A civilian was also injured during the operation. He was shifted to hospital and is stable now. Inspector General of Police in Kashmir Vijay Kumar said 201 militants have been killed this year till now. As per the official data, around 148 locals have joined the militant ranks this year till date.

In Pattan area of Baramullah district of northern Kashmir, six civilians, including a woman, were injured in a blast, which took place in the main market of Singhpora. The police are investigating the kind of explosives used.

Meanwhile, in Srinagar, People’s Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti was once again not allowed to travel to Budgam, where she was scheduled to meet the families who had been evicted from their ancestral land. Mufti shared a J&K police note in which she was advised to stay home due to security concerns and movement of militants in the area she was visiting. She was told to stay home until the ongoing elections are over.

“Illegally detained today for the third time in less than a fortnight. Too much democracy indeed. If my movements are curbed due to ‘security concerns’ then why are BJP ministers allowed to campaign freely in Kashmir while Ive been asked to wait until culmination of DDC elections?” she wrote onT. Mufti is also the vice president of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, which was formed after her release on October 13.

In the fifth phase of elections, 37 DDC constituencies are going for polls including 17 from Kashmir and 20 from Jammu division. A total of 299 candidates are in fray in the fifth phase including 155 in Kashmir and 144 in Jammu division.

Earlier in the first four phases, the voting percentage remained 52%, 48.62%, 50.53% and 50.08 %, respectively. The DDC elections and Panchayat bypolls are being held in eight phases from November 28 till December 19. The counting of votes shall be conducted on December 22.

The fight in the ongoing DDC elections is mainly between the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, BJP and Apni Party. The PAGD is an amalgam of regional parties, including National Conference and People’s Democratic Party, who have come together to fight for the restoration of statehood and special status of J&K.

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