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Valley of disquiet

Indian Kashmiri election staff sit inside an empty polling station in Chadoora, in Budgam district near the main city of Srinagar, on April 13, 2017. The re-poll ordered by the Election Commission of India in 38 polling stations of Srinagar's Budgam district, where the bypoll on April 9 was marred by violence, began amid tight security arrangements. Eight civilians were killed in Indian-administered Kashmir on April 9 when police opened fire at protesters who had stormed polling stations during a by-election for a parliamentary seat.  

The byelection in the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency on April 9 was marked by violence and apathy. Protesters clashed with security forces at a number of places, and eight civilians died in the violence.

The Srinagar seat, comprising 15 Assembly segments, spread over the districts of Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal, saw around 80,000 votes polled of 12.5 lakh voters, the lowest ever in the past three decades. In 2014, the polling percentage was 26%, compared with 7.14% this time. While the Anantnag byelection scheduled for April 12 was called off, repolling was held in 38 booths of the Srinagar constituency on Thursday, with the turnout even lower, pegged at 2%.

The Chadoora area of Budgam district witnessed prolonged violence, and an abysmal turnout, with most booths remaining empty. “The government failed to provide a conducive atmosphere for the polls,” said National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, joint candidate of the National Conference-Congress alliance from Srinagar, who won the election.

Valley of disquiet

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 5:13:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/valley-of-disquiet/article18063930.ece

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