SRINAGAR: Local council elections have ended in Indian-controlled Kashmir, with most voters staying away in Muslim-dominated areas of the disputed region.
The last phase of the four-phased elections saw less than 4 percent of voters go to the polls Tuesday in the region’s main city of Srinagar and neighboring Ganderbal town.
Shops and businesses closed in the areas where voting occurred on a call by separatist leaders who challenge India’s sovereignty over Kashmir.
India says the polls are a vital grass roots exercise to boost development and address civic issues. Political separatist leaders and rebel groups who challenge India’s sovereignty over Kashmir have called for a boycott, saying the polls are an illegitimate exercise under military occupation.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and both claim it in its entirety.
Meanwhile, three candidates, an electorate of 11,265 but not a single vote cast through the day. That was the ‘zero sum’ story of Srinagar Municipal Corporation’s Soura ward in the fourth and final phase of elections to Jammu and Kashmir’s urban local bodies Tuesday.