Jammu turnout 72%, Baramulla 35; student killed in firingtext_fields
Jammu/Srinagar: Polling for two Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday reflected the state's regional divide, with the Jammu parliamentary constituency witnessing an over 72 per cent turnout, while Baramulla in the Kashmir Valley only saw 35 per cent voting.
Though the Election Commission said that the poll process ended peacefully, stray incidents of violence were reported and a class 7 student was killed in firing by security forces in Kupwara district in the Kashmir Valley after a mob attacked a polling party after voting ended.
Addressing a media conference in Jammu, Chief Electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar said that 72.16 turnout was recorded in Jammu and 35.01 per cent in Baramulla. He said polling was peaceful.
Apart the violence, some incidents of EVM malfunction and alleged misconduct by a security man at a polling station were reported.
The National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) told poll officials that a voter was beaten up by a security man deployed in a polling station in Poonch district after the voter refused to vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party.
A video showing voters protesting outside the polling station against the high-handedness of the security man was posted by PDP President and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on her Twitter page.
In another incident, the Congress said the party's EVM button was not working in a polling station in Poonch district. It has lodged a complaint with poll officials.
In Palhalan area of Baramulla Lok Sabha seat, a woman was injured when some youth pelted stones to disrupt polling in the area.
Police immediately intervened and brought the situation under control. The injured woman was shifted to Srinagar for treatment.
After the polling ended in Baramulla constituency, a mob attacked the polling party as it was leaving a polling station in Mandigam village of Kupwara's Handwara tehsil.
Security forces opened fire, fatally injuring the Class 7 student, identified as Owais Ahmed, police sources said.
Polling in both constituencies otherwise remained peaceful, due to heavy deployment of security forces.
Contrary to fears that there could be violence during polling in Baramulla constituency, which spans Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora districts, voting went on peacefully with voters coming out in large or small numbers at different places as they wished.
There were no reports of coercion to force people out of their homes to join the poll process.
Very low voter turnout was seen in Sopore and Baramulla towns and a few other places where the separatist-called boycott appeal influenced local residents.
Polling started in Jammu and Baramulla at 7 a.m. While queues of enthusiastic voters were seen in rural and border areas of Jammu Lok Sabha seat, polling was relatively muted in Baramulla.
However, reports of voters turning out in good numbers came in from the border areas of Gurez, Karnah and Uri in Baramulla, while small queues were also seen in Sonawari, Shadipora and a few other places in the morning.
The main electoral battle in the Jammu Lok Sabha seat is between the BJP's Jugal Kishore Sharma and Raman Bhalla of the Congress, while in Baramulla, it is likely to be four-cornered between Muhammad Akbar Lone of the National Conference, Raja Aijaz Ali of the Peoples Conference, Abdul Qayoom Wani of the Peoples Democratic Party and Independent candidate, Engineer Rashid.
Counting of votes will be taken up on May 23.