Sopore, Apr 11: The separatist bastions in north Kashmir’s Baramulla
district chose to stay away from polls while a moderate voting was witnessed in
rural areas of the district in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections on
The state government led by
Governor Satya Pal Malik had arrested most of the separatist leadership months
ahead of the polls.
However, the impact of their boycott
call was still felt in their bastions in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district
including Palhallan, Sopore and Baramulla towns, where majority of the people
didn’t turn to polling booths.
In Palhallan, which has a
population of over 15,000 people, a huge deployment of forces was seen around
five polling booths and streets of the entire village.
On either end of the road leading
towards the village from the highway, paramilitary CRPF in tens had occupied
the entry and exit points of the streets.
The main gates of all the five
polling stations were closed where every person entering the booth was thoroughly
frisked before being allowed to head towards the polling booth.
Only 44 votes were polled out of
3,979 voters in five polling booths of the village till 12 pm.
Later, a group of youth appeared
from one of the streets and pelted stones at the forces guarding the polling
booth Palhallan (A).
Locals said that many youth in
the village had faced police cases and were slapped with Public Safety Act
(PSA) in the recent years.
“Even now scores are detained. So
people won’t majorly vote for any politician. Those who have voted are not
civilians but workers of political parties,” said a youth, who didn’t reveal
Sopore, home town of Hurriyat (G)
chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, equally looked deserted where the lowest voter
turnout of 4.35 per cent was recorded during the day.
In the main town, only 58 voters
turned to cast their vote out of 7,303 electorates in 11 polling booths till
“We have two booths Baghat (A) and
Tawheed Bagh (A) where no vote has been polled yet. People in the town and some
of the nearby villages completely boycott polls,” said a polling officer in one
of the polling booth in Boys Higher Secondary School Sopore.
Not a single vote was cast till 6
pm in all the five villages including Dooru, Reshiabad, Yamberzal Payeen,
Yadipora and Jageer, hometown of Afzal Guru.
As per an official statement,
4,864 out of 1,11,928 votes were cast in Sopore which is the lowest turnout
among all constituencies for Baramulla seat where nine candidates were in fray.
Many polling booths in Baramulla
town too recorded nominal voting on Thursday as majority of the areas witnessed
a shutdown on Joint Hurriyat’s call.
At polling booth Arimpora, only
five votes were cast till 2pm out of 449 electorates.
Similarly, in polling booth
Azadgunj, 23 votes had been cast out of 1135 electorates till 2 pm.
Meanwhile, a moderate voting was
witnessed elsewhere in the district particularly in rural areas where people
had come out to vote for basic amenities.
In Singhpora village of Pattan
area, voters had lined up in three polling booths to cast their vote.
The villages this Lok Sabha
elections witnessed brisk polling as compared to the 2014 elections.
“We are forced to use water from
the nearby stream and our demands have not been heard so far. We hope this time
our demands will be met as many are casting their vote,” said an elderly man,
Abdul Rehman Malik from Singhpora.
Similar scenes were witnessed in
Hanjiwera, Tangmarg and Pattan, where men and women had queued outside polling
booths right from the early hours.