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Civic Polls Phase III: Polling staff says no arrangements made for food, rest

Srinagar, Oct 13: The employees on poll duty in parts of old Srinagar said the government didn’t make arrangements for their comfortable overnight stay at the polling stations.
In phase III of the ongoing municipal elections held on Saturday, polling was held in most of the old city and parts of south and north Kashmir.
The polling staff was brought to their respective polling stations late on Friday and made to spend the night inside the booths.
Posted at Safa Kadal, an employee from district Kupwara in north Kashmir said they had to reach their pick-up point Muhafiz Khaana at Bemina here on Friday morning.
“We reached Safa Kadal polling station late in the evening, when the shops had closed. We could not buy anything to eat. There was no arrangement made for our food,” he said.
At the same station, another employee sat idly on an old, creaking bench, reluctant to talk.
“We are akin to sacrificial animals,” he said, on being pushed to open his mouth. “Whenever the need arises, we are readied by the government for slaughter.”
“They should know that we are at the end of the summer; the nights have turned cold. There were no blankets for us. We were made to sleep on an uncovered, dusty floor. We were given nothing in breakfast.”
He said they had to arrange breakfast on their own.
As the majority electorate didn’t turn up to vote, the staff had nothing to do for almost the entire day.
An employee at a Nawa Kadal polling station said the booth remained mostly deserted since the voting had begun at 6 am.
“Only two voters came to cast their vote,” he said.
At Dubji, Maisuma, in uptown, the polling staff said they had to request a house to make them tea.