South Kashmir polls: Kulgam no different than Anantnag | KNO

Clashes around polling stations at many parts of district, 10 youth, 6 forces personnel injured, 62 polling stations witness zero voting
South Kashmir polls: Kulgam no different than Anantnag | KNO

Kashmir News Observer (KNO)

Kulgam, April 29 (KNO) : The polling in Kulgam district on Monday started on a very dull note and remained the same even as some areas showed an upward trend in the later part of the day but the overall polling remained almost close to what it was in Anantnag district on April 23. In Kulgam, massive clashes also broke out in certain pockets resulting in the injuries to at least ten youth and six forces personnel. According to the KNO team that travelled extensively to the district, the major highlight of the day was that at least 62 polling booths witnessed zero per cent voting almost to similar to Anantnag wherein PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti’s strong hold—Bijbehera registered zero voting in more than 40 polling stations. The effect of boycott remained more in Kulgam than the voting as most of the people decided to stay away from polls. The areas considered as the voting hubs like Noorabad, Devsar, Home Shalibugh also witnessed thin presence of voters and serpentine lines were exceptional in some areas. For aged Subhan Ahmed Khanday, voting has been a futile exercise. Khanday had decided to boycott this time citing exploitation by the politicians in fray as the major reason. “They fill their coffers and we are always being asked to vote while nothing happens,” he told KNO outside a polling station at Homeshalibugh. Young boys were playing cricket outside a polling booth set up amid tight security cover at Yaripora area of Kulgam. Similar scenes were witnessed at Khudwani and Redwani areas of Kulgam district where many encounters between militants and the government forces took place in the past two years resulting the killing of top commanders of militant outfits. “We will never vote, this area has witnessed killing of many youth including some teenagers in encounters and clashes,” a group of boys told KNO at Redwani area. However, a few middle-aged people who were trying to enter at polling station at Devsar area of the district, said that their vote was for protecting the Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and hereditary state subject law guaranteed under Article 35 A. “We want RSS and BJP to stay away from Kashmir soil and that’s why we are voting,” said Abdur Rashid Dar, a mason by profession and his neighbor, Ghulam Mohiudin Khan. The areas that witnessed some sort of festivity in Kulgam district include Noorabad where over 20 per cent voting was registered and Devsar where 16.6 per cent poling was witnessed till 4 pm. The final percentage of the district was expected to stay in between 10 to 12 per cent almost close to that of Anantnag that recorded to 13.6 per cent voting. A police officer told KNO that some stray incidents of stone pelting took place in the district in isolated pockets and overall polling remained peaceful. However, eye-witnesses said that clashes broke out at main town Kulgam, Khudwani, Redwani, Yaripora and few more areas in which 10 youth sustained minor injuries. An official said that six policemen were also injured in the clashes and all are stable.(KNO)