Budgam boy votes to get rid of midnight knocks

OMPORA (Budgam): Despite an overwhelming boycott in this small township why did the 25-year-old Gulzar Ahmad Bhat risk to vote. "I voted," Gulzar says, "to get rid of Police chase."

During first five hours Ompora's twin polling booths had recorded 149 votes out of the listed 1731

Gulzar alleged the the Special Operations Group (the anti-militancy squad of J&K Police) has been committing atrocities in the area. "They drag us out of our homes in the dead of night. They book us in one and other false case."

Asked why he didn’t follow the boycott call of Hurriyat Conference and other freedom groups, he said: “When Hurriyat asks us to come on streets and pelt stones we follow their call without delay. But, when we are being detained no one among them comes to our rescue.”

“And, when we go before pro-India politicians, they turn their backs on us,” he said adding: “that is why I voted today. The sole reason is to get rid of unwarranted detentions and harassment by SOG and police.”

Before the polls, police in Kashmir started detaining youth to pevent violence and pro-freedom protests on poll day. Separatists insist over a thousand youth have been jailed ahead of polls but the Police has confirmed only five hundred arrests with warning for more detentions”. (GNS)

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