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Tourist couple injured in militant shooting in India’s Kashmir amid elections

A tourist couple was injured in India’s Kashmir after militants fired on them, police said, ahead of voting scheduled in the volatile region for India’s ongoing election.

The couple from the Indian city of Jaipur was evacuated to the hospital and the area where the attack took place was cordoned off, Kashmir police said on social media. The condition of the injured tourists is said to be stable, they said.

India is in the middle of a marathon election with the remaining two seats in Kashmir going to polls on May 20 and May 25.

Voters turned out in large numbers for polling in the first seat in Srinagar on May 13, reversing the trend of low vote counts in the first polls since Prime Minister Narendra Modi removed the region’s semi-autonomy in 2019.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is skipping elections in Kashmir for the first time since 1996 saying it will support regional parties instead.

Major parties in Kashmir, the National Conference and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have focused on the restoration of semi-autonomy in their campaigns.

Analysts and opposition parties say the BJP is not contesting elections in Kashmir because it fears the outcome will contradict its narrative of a more peaceful and integrated region since 2019.

In a separate incident, unknown militants shot dead former village headman and BJP party member Ajiaz Ahmad Sheikh in Shopian district on Saturday.

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The last major attack on tourists in Kashmir happened in 2017 when a Hindu pilgrimage bus was targeted, killing eight people.

By FAYAZ BUKHARI

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