Munaf Malik, a man who hails from Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri, who was once a terrorist, has now contested the District Development Council (DDC) poll from Darhal Malkan constituency.
Before Munaf decided to take the democratic path of the election, he was a divisional commander of a terrorist outfit for over seven years.
"I am feeling really proud that I am contesting elections. I like talking to people and helping them. I experienced a life full of hardships. I appeal to terrorists to give up arms and join the mainstream. I would like to request them to come back. Nothing is going to happen. These are all means of political propaganda (jihad)," Munaf Malik told ANI.
Talking about his journey how it changed after he surrendered, Malik said, "I worked for them (people of Darhal Malkan) and I will keep serving them. Wherever I am going, I am getting a lot of respect."
Nobody has worked for the development of the people. "They just won the elections and then just went and sat in Jammu," he added.
Lauding Munaf Malik's change of fate, Zonal Sports Officer (retired) Imtiaz Ahmed Malik, said, "It a great thing that he has participated in the elections. The Government of India has a policy for people who surrender. This is a symbol of our beautiful democracy."
Talking about the DDC elections, Imtiaz said, "The DDC election was conducted in a fine manner. This is part of our democracy which is the second largest after the United States. Elections are the best option for the welfare of the people. They must participate and become part of the government and vote for their favourite candidate."
The eighth and last phase of the District Development Council election came to an end on Saturday with over 3.21 lakh people coming out to exercise their right to vote.
According to State Election Commissioner KK Sharma, as many as 3,21,694 voters, including 1,52,423 women and 1,29,271 men cast their votes.