Mehbooba Mufti
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti addressing a rally in KashmirPDP media cell

On Tuesday, when security forces were engaged in a fierce encounter with terrorists in south Kashmir's Kulgam district, a political rally of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was going on just a few kilometers away from the spot of the gun battle.

Comprising three assembly segments of D. H. Pora, Kulgam, and Devsar, Kulgam district is part of the newly crafted Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat. A high-voltage election campaign is going on in this district because PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti is contesting the election in this Parliamentary segment.

Even after Tuesday's encounter, in which a dreaded terrorist of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) was eliminated, the election was held without fear and terror. The same was the story in the Thanamandi area of the border district of Rajouri, where terrorists killed an employee of the Social Welfare Department of J&K government on April 22.

The selective killing of government employees failed to shatter peoples' faith in the democratic institutions of the country. The very next day after the April 22 terror attack, political activities started in the same area by different political parties.

Kulgam encounter
J&K Police

Encounters, poll campaigning going side-by-side in Kashmir

In Jammu and Kashmir, unlike other places in India that are preparing for elections, there's a unique situation. Poll canvassing and campaigns against terrorists are happening at the same time in the region.

Political groups are working hard to get people to vote in the upcoming elections. At the same time, the army and police are trying to stop terrorists who might try to disrupt the elections.

On Tuesday, in south Kashmir, the security forces eliminated two terrorists in Kulgam district's Redwani Payeen area.

A top commander of the banned militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba's frontal organisation The Resistance Front (TRF) was killed along with another terrorist in an encounter with the security forces in J&K's Kulgam district.
Top terrorist commander among 2 killed in Kulgam encounterIANS

One of the terrorists, Basit Dar, was a dreaded one. He was a self-styled commander of the proscribed terror Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT)/The Resistance Front.

Kashmir Police Chief V K Birdi said that eliminating Basit Dar was a big win because he was involved in many attacks, especially in Srinagar.

Basit Dar had been missing for three years and was part of The Resistance Front (TRF), which is connected to Lashkar-e-Taiba. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had offered a reward of 10 lakh rupees for information that could lead to his capture.

Four terrorists killed in Kashmir during election campaign

In the past two weeks, four terrorists have been killed by the security forces. The latest was during the election campaign in Kashmir Valley, where three seats in the Lok Sabha are being contested. Before this, on April 26, two more terrorists were killed in Sopore, north Kashmir.

In Sopore, two soldiers and one local person were hurt during the fight but are now recovering well after getting medical help.

Election buzz in Kashmir Valley

Despite recent violent incidents, political parties are ramping up their campaigns for the three Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir Valley.

Leaders from various parties, like the National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), J&K Apni Party, and Peoples' Conference led by Sajad Lone, are actively organizing road shows and rallies across the Valley.

In north Kashmir's Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah from the National Conference is facing off against Sajad Lone of the Peoples' Conference. PDP has also put forward a candidate for this seat.

Down in south Kashmir's Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, which includes the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti is contesting. She is up against Mian Altaf, a veteran politician from the National Conference, and Zaffar Iqbal Manhas from the Apni Party.

However, polling for the Anantnag-Rajouri seat has been postponed to May 25 due to unfavourable weather conditions.