Terrorists issue fresh threats to J&K poll candidates
5 September 2002
The Hindustan Times
Srinagar: A terrorist group on Thursday warned candidates for Jammu and Kashmir''s upcoming elections to withdraw by next week, pledging that most of them would be ''eliminated'' by the end of next month. Jamiat- ul-Mujahedin said if candidates did not bow out of the race by Tuesday they would get an ''exemplary punishment which should shake the world,'' it said in a statement carried in Greater Kashmir, a leading English-language newspaper. The group, which wants Jammu and Kashmir to become part of Pakistan, said the majority of the candidates will be ''eliminated by the end of October.'' The new government is set to take office by mid-October. A total of 162 candidates are standing for the first phase of polling in five Kashmir districts September 16. Three more rounds of voting will be held, ending October 8. Jamiat said the punishment for candidates would be in line with the ''rules of Shariah,'' or Islamic law. ''Dropping their candidature only could save them,'' said the statement, which was attributed to senior Jamiat commander Akhter Abdul Rehman. ''We are keeping a constant vigil on these candidates and they can''t remain in the safety of Indian forces forever,'' Rehman said. The state authorities have provided security to all the candidates. But Muslim militants have already attacked a number of political activists, particularly those from Kashmir''s ruling National Conference party. Separatists plan to stay away from the polls, while other rebel groups have issued threats similar to Jamiat''s.