Kashmir shuts in protest against Panchayat elections
Srinagar: Youth rides on his bike on deserted streets of main business hub Ghanta Ghar Lal Chowk during strike called given by joint Hurriyat Leadership on the first phase of Panchayat elections, in Srinagar on Saturday, Nov 17, 2018. PTI Photo by Umar Ganie
Srinagar, Nov 17:A complete shutdown was on Saturday observed across the Valley to protest against the commencement of nine-phased Panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir.
The shutdown call was given by the Joint Hurriyat Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, appealing people to observed complete strike on Saturday to protest against the commencement of Panchayat polls.
All the shops, business establishments, petrol pumps remained closed while as vehicular movement was also thin on the roads here throughout the day.
Witnesses said that a huge contingent of police and paramilitary troopers was deployed in the roads in Old City areas of Srinagar to thwart any possible protests.
Pertinently, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Law and Order and Security, Munir Ahmad Khan said that all the required arrangements have been put in place to ensure peaceful elections to the voters.
Meanwhile, a brisk voting was witnessed at several places in Kashmir while as some polling stations wore a deserted look.
Polling for Phase-I of Panchayat Polls-2018 was held on Saturday at 3296 polling stations across the state, including 1303 in Kashmir and 1993 in Jammu Division. The polling begun at from 8 am to 2 pm.
At least 5585 candidates are in the fray for 420 Sarpanch and 1845 Panch seats in Phase-I while as 85 Sarpanchs and 1676 Panchs were already elected unopposed in the Phase.
687 polling stations were categorized as hypersensitive including 491 in Kashmir and 196 in Jammu division.
Earlier, the government had declared holiday on the day of poll in the panchayat areas going to polls so as to enable the voters to cast their vote. Special casual leave has also been granted to the employees who have to go to other areas to exercise their right to franchise.
Meanwhile, a top police officer said that the phase-I of Panchayat polls culminated peacefully.
He also said that situation across the Valley remained peaceful and under control throughout the day.