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Political parties continue with campaigning in J&K despite attacks

Unfazed by militant attacks that left 21 persons including 11 security men and eight militants dead yesterday, political parties continued with their campaign in poll-bound Jammu and Kashmir amid heightened security arrangements ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit on Monday.

Dozens of rallies and roadshows were held since this morning by various parties, including the ruling National Conference and Congress and main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), across the Valley especially in the 16 Assembly constituencies of Budgam, Pulwama and Baramulla districts which are going to polls in the third phase on December 9, police officials said.

They said Independent candidates are also doing their bit to woo the voters and many of them are involved in door-to-door campaigns.

In an apparent move to create fear psychosis, militants struck at four places yesterday including an army camp in border town of Uri which left 11 security personnel and eight militants dead.

Two civilians were killed and 10 others were injured in one of the grenade explosions at Tral in Pulwama district.

The attacks, which also included two grenade blasts in south Kashmir, were carried out by militants at a time when security was further beefed up in connection with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to the Valley on December 8 to address election rallies including one at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium in the heart of Srinagar.

The officials said the militant attacks failed to dampen the spirit of the people as they turned up in large numbers to hear the mainstream leaders, including Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Opposition PDP patron and former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

Both Omar and the PDP leader were campaigning in Budgam district of central Kashmir. While Omar is seeking his re-election from Beerwah constituency of the district, Sayeed campaigned for the party candidates at Beerwah, Khansahab and Charar-e-Sharief constituencies.

PDP MP Tariq Hameed Harra also addressed a public meeting at Khonmoh in Sonawar constituency of Srinagar and is scheduled to address various roadside meetings at Eidgah constituency of interior Srinagar.

BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain also addressed an election rally in south Kashmir Tral constituency.

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