At least five persons were killed and 36 others injured as security forces opened fire on rampaging mobs in various parts of Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency on Sunday, as the violence marred polling which saw an abysmally low turnout.
Army was called out to help security forces control a rampaging mob which pelted stones and hurled petrol bombs to set a polling booth ablaze in the Ganderbal district of the Srinagar constituency.
Polling booths attacked with stones, EVMs damaged in parts of Budgam. Polling stopped in parts of Budgam after clashes. Peaceful polling in Kangan, Ganderbal.
In Budgam, stone pelting was reported from Hafroo Batpora in Chrari Sharif Assembly constituency, Gooripora area in Beerwah, Dardpora and Soibugh in Budgam and Hayatpora in Chadoora assembly segments, the official told Rising Kashmir. Stone pelting also took place at Nasrullahpora.
In Wakura area of Ganderbal Assembly constituency, youths pelted stones at a power development department lineman who tried to rectify a snag at the polling station, which did not have electricity.
Security personnel chased the protesters away, he said.
Voting for the bypoll began amid tight security, with nine candidates including National Conference president Farooq Abdullah in the fray.
All the polling stations have been declared as either sensitive or hyper-sensitive, keeping in mind threats from various militant outfits and separatist groups, including the Hurriyat Conference.
The seat fell vacant following resignation of PDP leader Tariq Hameed Karra, both from the Lower House of Parliament and his party, in protest against the “atrocities” on people during the agitation in the summer last year in the wake of killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8.
Dr. Abdullah, who is the candidate of his party and the Congress jointly, will take on the ruling PDP’s candidate Nazir Ahmad Khan in a virtual direct contest.
Former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said the situation of elections and campaigning in the state has deteriorated this year. Abdullah said, “I have been a politician for 20 years. I have never seen such a bad situation for elections and campaigning in the state. It is the failure of State Government, Centre and Election Commission.”
NC President Farooq Abdullah and son Omar Abdullah cast their votes in Srinagar. The two leaders strongly condemned the poll violence in the capital. “Elections should have been peaceful, this government has failed in giving a peaceful atmosphere for people to come and vote,” Farooq Abdullah said.