A woman from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) who returned to the Valley under the government’s rehabilitation policy for militants in 2010 has been elected as Sarpanch in the State Panchayat Polls.
Arifa Begum, who is married to a resident of Khumriyal in South Kashmir’s Kupwara, submitted her nomination for Khumriyal-B seat. The election officials said that no other candidates submitted their papers on time. This led to Arifa being elected unopposed. The last date for nomination papers was November 5 and the polls are scheduled to be on November 20.
According to police sources, Arifa’s husband Ghulam Mohammed Mir had crossed the Line of Control (LoC) for arms training and had returned with Arifa via Nepal in 2010.
Meanwhile, security has been tightened up in the Valley as terrorists are trying to disrupt the upcoming panchayat elections. On Tuesday, the army shot dead a heavily-armed Pakistani intruder along the border in Akhnoor Sector.
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The Times of India highlighted that “the Indian Army is carrying out relentless and robust anti-infiltration operations in the state to break the backbone of terrorism and nip the designs of anti-national elements and the enemy to foment trouble in the south of the Pir Panjal range in J&K.”
The Election Commission announced on Sunday that the panchayat elections in J&K will be held in nine phases starting November 17. According to News18, the elections are being held on a non-party basis. Counting will start at the end of each voting phase.