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Lok Sabha polls phase I: Long queues, less boycott!

Jammu PC records 72.16 %, Baramulla 34.61% | District-wise %age: Kupwara: 51.7, B’la 24, Bandipora 31.8

Monitor News Bureau

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Photos: Umar Ganie

Srinagar, Apr 11: The first phase of polling in Jammu and Baramulla Parliamentary constituencies of J&K ended with a total voter turnout of 57.31 percent even as a teenager was killed in clashes that occurred in the evening in Handwara area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

The slain was identified as Owais Mushtaq Mir, a resident of Handwara area of Kupwara who was injured seriously in the clashes that broke between youth and government forces after the day-long voting. He was brought dead to district hospital Handwara, a witness said.

Meanwhile, amid the heightened security arrangements and internet gag across north Kashmir, the frontier district Kupwara Thursday polled 51.7 percent of votes in a day for Baramulla parliamentary constituency with serpentine queues being witnessed in many places. Sopore and Hajin areas in Baramulla and Bandipora constituency witnessed almost a complete boycott.

 

Addressing media persons here at a Press Conference, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO)  J&K Shailendra Kumar said that Jammu Parliamentary Constituency, spread over four districts of Jammu, Samba, Rajouri and Poonch, with 20 assembly segments, recorded a huge overall voter turnout of 72.16 percent.

Baramulla Parliamentary Constituency comprising three districts of Kupwara, Baramulla and Bandipora, having 15 Assembly segments, recorded 34.61 percent polling.

The individual district turnouts stood at Kupwara (51.7%), Baramulla (24%), and Bandipora (31.8%). The final turnout in 15 segments of the entire Baramulla Constituency stood at: Karnah (59.1%), Kupwara (58.7), Lolab (45.3), Handwara (60.3), Langate (35.5), Uri (57.0), Rafiabad (11.8), Sopore (4.3), Sangrama (13.7), Baramulla (16.0), Gulmarg (33.5), and Pattan (33.9).

The voter turnout was highest in Samba District at 75.07 percent followed by 74.50 percent in Jammu district, while twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri recorded 70.40 percent and 65.70 percent, respectively, the CEO informed.

He said that there are 33 candidates in fray for twin constituencies, including 24 for Jammu PC and 9 for Baramulla PC. He said the polling was held under the supervision of 12 General Observers, 8 Expenditure Observers and 7 Police Observers, besides 462 micro observers, while 7692 staff was deployed across 4489 polling stations in the two PCs on Poll day.

Giving further details, he said the twin PCs have over 33 lakh voters, 17.16 Lakh male, 16.80 lakh female.

  The CEO complimented voters, political parties, contesting candidates, polling staff and Security forces for smooth and peaceful conduct of polling in the state. 

Divisional Commissioner Jammu Sanjeev Verma, IGP Jammu Manish Kumar Sinha, RO Jammu PC Ramesh Kumar and Additional CEO Rakesh Kumar Sarangal were also present at the press conference.


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UN chief could discuss Kashmir issue at UNGA: UN spokesman

Press Trust of India

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is likely to use the opportunity of discussions during the high-level UN General Assembly session that begins here next week to raise the Kashmir issue, the UN chief’s spokesperson has said.

Spokesman for the Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric during the daily press briefing here on Thursday said that the UN chief has underscored the need for dialogue as the only way to resolve the issue and, “as part of the solution for the current crisis in Kashmir, to make sure that human rights aspects are very much dealt with, as well.”

“…On Kashmir, the Secretary General… has said previously, he remains engaged. I think he will also use the opportunity of discussions during the General Assembly to raise it,” Dujarric said, responding to a question on the situation in Kashmir.

On Wednesday, Guterres emphasised that “dialogue” between India and Pakistan is an “absolute essential element” for reaching a solution on the Kashmir issue, and said his good offices are available should both sides ask for it and called for full respect of human rights.

“Well, our capacity is related to good offices, and good offices can only be implemented when the parties accept it. And, on the other hand, it relates to advocacy, and the advocacy was expressed and will be maintained,” Guterres said during his press conference ahead of the UN General Assembly session.

Guterres was asked by a Pakistani journalist about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and what will he do to bring a solution to the Kashmir issue.

“I go on with a clear opinion that human rights must be fully respected in the territory, and I go on with the clear opinion that dialogue between India and Pakistan is an absolutely essential element for the solution of the problem,” he said.

India has always maintained that Jammu and Kashmir is its integral part and ruled out any third party mediation, including either from the UN or the US, saying it is a bilateral issue with Pakistan.

The UN Secretary General has also repeatedly asserted that his good offices are available only if both sides ask for it.

Tension between India and Pakistan escalated after New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5. Pakistan has downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner.

Pakistan has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue but India has asserted that the abrogation of Article 370 was its “internal matter”.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York on September 27. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also scheduled to speak on the same day.

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Amid Kashmir tensions, India will participate at SAARC meeting in New York

Press Trust of India

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NEW DELHI: Amid heightened Indo-Pak tensions, India will participate at the SAARC foreign ministers meeting scheduled to be held on September 26 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, officials said on Thursday.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan will be present in the US next week and will hold bilateral and multilateral meetings.

Officials said India will participate in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation foreign ministers meeting that is scheduled for September 26.

The meeting on the sidelines of the UNGA could bring Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi face to face for the first time after the abrogation of Article 370 provisions.

Asked about a possible meeting with his Pakistani counterpart as well as the future of the SAARC regional grouping, Jaishankar, at a press conference earlier this week, had said, “if and when I meet Pakistani Foreign Minister, we will see at that time what happens”.

The SAARC is about regional cooperation and that refers to trade, MFN, connectivity etc.

, he had said, adding that now every member knows which country is promoting SAARC and which one is impeding it.

Last year, then External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had attended the SAARC Foreign Ministers meeting, usually held on the sidelines of the UNGA.

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Plea alleges detention of children in Kashmir, SC seeks report

Agencies

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The Supreme Court on Friday sought a report from Jammu and Kashmir High Court on the alleged detention of children in Kashmir during curbs following the scrapping of Article 370 in the state on August 5.

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, representing child right activists Inakshi Ganguly and Shanta Sinha who have alleged detention of children in Kashmir, had on September 16 told the apex court that people in the Valley are not able to approach the high court there.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it would entertain the petition regarding alleged detention of children in Kashmir as the plea has raised “substantial issues” regarding minors. The top court directed the Juvenile Justice Committee of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to file a report before it within a week on the issue.

The Supreme Court also said it had received a report from the Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court and claims that people are unable to access the court there are not supported.

“We have received the report from the chief justice (of Jammu and Kashmir High Court) which does not support your statement,” the bench also comprising justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer told the counsel appearing for the petitioners.

The Supreme Court also sought response from the Jammu and Kashmir administration on a plea challenging detention of five persons in Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370.

The bench asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was appearing for the Jammu and Kashmir administration, to file his response.

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