J&K poll violence: Congress demands Mehbooba resign

Cheryl Sanders
April 13, 2017

Only 6.5 percent of voters on Sunday turned out to cast their ballot, Shantmanu said 26 percent less than in the last elections held in 2014 and the lowest ever participation recorded in any election in the disputed territory.

A government middle school, also a designated polling booth in Shopian's Padarpora was set ablaze by unidentified people. Its candidate from Anantnag, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's brother Tasaduq Mufti, said the government had informed the poll commission in writing that "this is not a right time for polls".

Indian police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed in strength in Srinagar and other places to stop people from staging anti-India protests over the killing of civilians.

The civilians were killed when security forces opened fire on a group of such protesters in Dalwan village in Budgam district.

As the day began with small queues of voters outside polling booths, slogan shouting mobs attacked polling stations in Budgam, damaged EVMs and prevented voters from exercising their franchise. "You can't force people to rush to polling stations and vote amid violence", he said.

The educational institutions, public transport, shops and other businesses began functioning normally after three days of shutdown due to the killing of civilians in the Sunday by-election. They had earlier called for a boycott of the by-elections in protest against the turmoil in the state.

The stakes are high for the National Conference patriarch Dr Farooq Abdullah who is competing against Nazir Khan from the Peoples' Democratic Party. Even then the enviroment for campaigning and voting was not as bad as it is today. "There is mismanagement", he said.

"With the ruckus that is happening in Kashmir, Election Commission (EC) of India should cancel the elections for at least two years so that peace prevails and violence issues are sorted out", Swamy told.

The Commission had faced criticism for holding the elections against the advice of the state government.

Violence marred the polling in Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency with eight people killed in firing by security forces.

Following the escalation of violence on Sunday, internet services have suspended in entire Kashmir Valley till Anantnag by-polls on April 12.

Other reports by iNewsToday