Barricaded Budgam Boycotts Ballot #Kashmir
Budgam, April 13: Amid thick security cover, 38 polling booths in central Kashmir’s Budgam district witnessed only 2.2 per cent re-polling for Srinagar Lok Sabha seat bypolls on Thursday.
Chief Electoral Officer Shantmanu said 2.2 per cent polling was recorded in 38 polling stations in Budgam district, where re-polling was held today.
He said authorities had made elaborate security arrangements for smooth conduct of polling.
“At least 64 companies of paramilitary forces besides State police were deployed for smooth and peaceful conduct of polling,” he said.
The CEO said only 709 voters cast their votes out of 35169 registered voters in the re-polling.
“At 20-21 polling stations, there was zero percent voting,” he said.
Shantmanu said overall poll percentage for Srinagar Lok Sabha bypolls stands has dropped from 7.14 per cent to 7.13 per cent now.
The tight security measures failed to instill confidence among the voters, who stayed away from the poll process for second time in five days.
In Nasrullahpora B and C polling stations, which were attacked by youth during polling on April 9, were shifted to a nearby Tankipora area.
By 4 pm, two votes were polled at Nasrullahpora B while only 1 vote was polled at Nasrullah Pora A polling station.
Locals said there was no reason to vote again.
“When we didn’t vote in polls on April 9, then why would we vote today,” said an elderly person, Ahmad Dar.
He said forces fired four teargas shells at his house, causing suffocation among the family members.
“What was my fault? I won’t vote even if they slit my throat,” Dar said.
At Galwanpora A and B polling stations, the scene was no different.
Even agents of polling parties didn’t visit the polling stations. The locals served breakfast to polling staff but boycotted the polls.
A local resident Ghulam Ahmad Bhat said they had decided to boycott polls in advance.
“It doesn’t look like democracy when blood is still spilled on roads. Why should we vote,” he said.
He said they served tea and bread to polling staff on basis of humanity and ethos.
A woman, Shakeela Begum, who had voted four times in past elections, boycotted this time saying politicians have betrayed them on all fronts.
“We voted in past hoping the politicians would help in developing roads and providing employment to children. But the politicians favour their own people,” she said.
“Voting did not bring any good to us. The graveyards are filled and young boys are being killed,” Shakeela said.
Outside Haripora polling station, the stones and bricks pelted on force personnel by youth during Sunday’s polling have still not been cleared from the roads.
Of 866 votes in the polling station, none was polled till 11 am.
Ashfaq Ahmad, a postgraduate said people boycotted polls for freedom. “We boycotted polls to protest killing of youth and human rights violations being committed by troops in Kashmir”.
“Our sisters and brothers are being killed and maimed by forces. How long we will remain silent. Boycott is the only option left for us,” he said.
In Repora area of Chrar-i-Shareef constituency, where massive clashes were witnessed on Sunday, there was no takers for re-polling.
Till none, none of the voter had cast the votes.
A local resident Ghulam Qadir said government has betrayed the people.
“We voted in 2014 but nothing has happened so far which could help a common man. We are with the larger sentiment,” he said.
Abdul Majeed Shah, a National Conference (NC) supporter said he and his family had been voting for NC since ages but they have never benefited.
“I never got the benefit. Today people are with the boycott and I am also with them,” he said.
The situation was no different at Kanir A and B polling stations, where CRPF and policemen were resting in premises of Government Higher secondary school.
Of the 892 votes, only 22 votes were polled at Kanir A station and only 7 votes were polled out of 1050 votes at Kanir B polling station till 2 pm.
Hashroo and Wagam polling station too recorded zero polling till 2 pm.
Except for Dooniwari polling station where 243 votes were polled out of 1246 total votes by 1 pm, other polling booths in Chadoora constituency were presenting a deserted look. RK