Unidentified gunmen attacked a district development council candidate (DDC) in South Kashmir’s Kokernag area while polling for the third phase took place in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday

This is the first attack on any DDC candidate since the election process began last month. The candidate who was shot at has been identified as Anees ul Islam. He was attacked near Sagam in Kokernag.

People familiar with the development said that Anees had recently joined the Apni Party led by Altaf Bukhari. Officials said that he has been moved to a hospital. Police and Indian Army personnel reached the spot of the attack for investigations.

A senior doctor posted at Medical College Anantnag said that Apni party candidate is stable and out of danger.

Former J&K chief minister and National Conference (NC) vice president, Omar Abdullah said the attack was carried out by forces inimical to peace.

“Disturbing reports coming in from Kokernag in South Kashmir of an attack on a DDC election candidate. I hope & pray that he survives the attack. Elections have always brought out the worst in those forces that have remained inimical to peace in Kashmir,” Abdullah tweeted.

Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari said this dastardly attack on our contesting candidate is a manifestation of frustration among forces inimical to peace and the rising popularity of Apni Party among the people. “The government should take serious cognizance of this incident and take all necessary security measures in this regard.”

Spokesman PAGD and chairman Peoples Conference, Sajjad Lone said the attack on a contesting DDC candidate is detestable to say the least. “Violence has been the biggest facilitator in our disempowerment”

Police spokesman said that preliminary investigation revealed that terrorists had fired upon independent DDC candidate of Sagam constituency at Sagam Kokernag in district Anantnag.

“In this incident, he has received injuries in small finger of his left hand and a minor injury on thigh. He was allocated cluster accommodation in Khanabal and after end of scrutiny period he was properly informed by PS Kokernag on the evening of 3rd December regarding the same. Besides he was instructed to get escort personnel for campaigning purpose which he did not take.”

Three-tier security arrangements are in place while the DDC polls, to elect 280 candidates, are being held in eight phases in the UT.