299 Polling Booths in South Kashmir Draw Blank  


SRINAGAR — As many as 299 polling booths in Pulwama and Shopian district saw no voting in Monday’s elections to the Anantnag Parliamentary seat, sources said. There were 695 polling booths set up in the twin districts spread over six assembly segments of Pampore, Tral, Pulwama, and Rajpora in Pulwama and two in Shopian—Shopian and Wachi.  

Sources said 266 polling booths in Pulwama district and 37 in Shopian—28 in Shopian assembly segment and 9 in Wachi witnessed zero votings.

Sources said that nine polling booths saw less than seven votes cast in Wachi and 14 booths were such were less than five votes were polled in Shopian, they said. Thin attendance of voters was also witnessed elsewhere in the two districts and there was only a few places where people could be seen lined up in queues waiting for their turn to cast votes.

Officials at several polling stations were idling around, while government forces maintained a vigil against possible disruption by miscreants.

Reports said deserted roads were leading to polling stations with no or a few voters and the overbearing presence of government forces were dominant scenes in the twin districts with Pulwama witnessing little more than two percent voting while polling percentage remained below 3 percent in Shopian district in the last of the three-phased elections for parliamentary Anantnag seat. 

As per officials, 2.14 percent voting was recorded in Pulwama and at the same time, Shopioan district, spread over two assembly segments, saw 2.88%.

 No Vote Cast In Burhan, Naikoo, Musa’s Villages  

Nobody from the village of Burhan Wani, the poster boy of Hizbul Mujahideen, voted Monday, while just 15 from the native place of Pulwama suicide bomber, who nearly brought India and Pakistan to a war, cast the ballots, officials said.

Also, zero polling was witnessed from the villages of other top militant commanders in south Kashmir, the hotbed of militancy in the valley, they said.

Wani’s Shareefabad village in the Tral area decided to give a miss to the elections as no one from the village went to exercise their franchise.

Just 15 votes (of the total 350) were polled In Gundibagh, a village that hit the international headlines on February 14 after one of its residents Adil Dar became a suicide bomber for Jaish-e-Mohammed group and triggered a blast in an explosive-laden car near a CRPF convoy killing 40 personnel, the officials said.

The incident on February 14 dramatically escalated the tension between India and Pakistan.

Also, zero voting was recorded from Noorabad, the village of Zakir Musa, the chief of Ansar-Gazawat-ul-Hind group; Beighpora, the village of the incumbent Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo; and Sheikhpora, the village of Mudassir Khan, the “mastermind” of February 14 strike, said the officials.

Wani’s killing in an encounter with government forces in 2016 had triggered a massive unrest in the valley that left nearly 100 people dead and thousand others, including security forces, injured.

Elsewhere, deserted roads and the overwhelming presence of government personnel marked elections in the militancy strongholds of Shopian and Pulwama districts, part of the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat.  


Observer News Service

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