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Half a dozen candidates withdraw out of fear

Srinagar, Oct 5: Nearly half a dozen candidates withdrew their nominations for the municipal polls after two National Conference (NC) workers were shot dead in Srinagar city on Friday.

The killings instilled a fear among the candidates contesting from various wards in the city and towns of Kashmir.

Soon after the incident, several candidates approached media or uploaded their message on social-media to announce their withdrawal.

A candidate, Muzamil Jan, contesting for ward 4 Dalgate, said she announced withdrawal of her nomination on the Masjid loudspeaker.

“I was contemplating about my resignation since last night. But now I have announced it publicly to live peacefully. It is not a good decision to contest the election,” she said.

A candidate who identified himself as Humayun Imtiyaz, of Anchidora ward 17 Anantnag, uploaded a video on social media to announce that his decision to contest was “a big mistake”.

“I was contesting on behalf of Congress and now I am seeking forgiveness from my people. I am hereby announcing my withdrawal of nomination for the municipal polls,” he said.

From Pattan, at least four candidates have also withdrawn their nominations, citing unfavourable atmosphere for elections.

Tabia Rashid and Gulshana Begum, of ward 7 and 10 of Pattan, respectively, also announced their choice to withdraw.

Sources said that following the killings, many candidates have demanded “adequate security in Srinagar” to prevent attacks by militants, who have called for boycott of the polls.

Currently, hundreds of the candidates from volatile areas have taken refuge in hotels guarded by the police and CRPF personnel.

On Thursday, the BJP in-charge for a municipal committee in south Kashmir and several other candidates of the party from the area had also withdrawn their nominations.