MUZAFFARABAD, July 27: A Kashmiri group claimed responsibility on Saturday for three political killings in the past week and threatened to kill anyone who takes part in elections in occupied Kashmir.
Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen, one of the two groups India banned in April under controversial anti-terror laws, said it had shot dead three members of disputed Kashmir’s ruling party, National Conference, on Thursday.
The killings, on the eve of a new peace mission to South Asia by US Secretary of State Colin Powell, brought to more than 10, the number of National Conference members the group claims to have killed in the past six week. In making the claim, a spokesman for the group told Reuters all active participants in elections due by mid-October in occupied Kashmir were now targets.
“Any person, who as a candidate, or as a voter or supporter or as a transporter, takes part or assists in the elections willingly, will be deemed a traitor and meet an exemplary fate.
“No person will escape his fate who betrays the blood of 80,000 martyrs in Kashmir, or who tramples over the feelings of the Kashmiri people by participating in the elections.”
Earlier in July the United Jihad Council, the main anti-India alliance, of which Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen is a member, urged freedom fighters in occupied Kashmir to start an anti-poll campaign and warned election supporters of dire consequences.
But Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen’s statement was the first to make a direct threat to all involved in the election process.
The group said people should boycott the elections, which would be “a fraud intended to deceive world opinion”.
The spokesman said his group had formed a special guerrilla force named Al Jabbar to target people actively involved in the election. “We will not touch those supporters of the pro-election parties who either are not taking part in any election process or stay away from such a process,” he said.
The spokesman said the prime targets would be supporters of National Conference actively engaged in the election. The statement came a day before Colin Powell was due to hold talks with both India and Pakistan in which he says he will push for talks on Kashmir.—Reuters