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Mourning continues in Kashmir

Valley shuts on Day 3 as well; Authorities foil march to Army base; Malik, Mirwaiz detained; Srinagar youth injured

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Srinagar, Dec 17:Kashmir observed a complete shutdown on Monday as well against the Saturday’s killings even as authorities foiled the Badami Bagh march called by Joint Hurriyat by imposing strict restrictions in parts of Srinagar.

All shops and other commercial establishments remained closed in Srinagar and elsewhere in the valley while public transport also remained off the roads.

A youth from Srinagar’s Batamaloo was injured in the clashes that intensified in old-city’s Fateh Kadal area Monday evening.

 

The youth, identified as Majid Shigan of Batamaloo, was wounded after he was hit with a forces’ vehicle and reportedly thrashed by them afterwards.

He was shifted to SKIMS Bemina hospital.

Many parts of Chenab Valley too were shut against the Pulwama killings.

On Saturday, seven civilians were killed and over 35 others injured after government forces fired at the protesters near the site of a gunfight that left three militants and a soldier dead in Sirnoo village of Pulwama.

Joint Hurriyat Leadership – an amalgam of leaders headed by Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik – had called for a three-day shutdown and a march to Badami Bagh army base in Srinagar to mourn the killings.

In a bid to foil the march, authorities had imposed curbs and had issued traffic advisory to stop people and commuters to pass through Badami Bagh road.

The road leading to Army base inBadami Bagh here was completely sealed with concertina wires and armoured vehicles stationed at key points on Srinagar-Pantha Chowk stretch.

Traffic was diverted towards the new highway while no vehicle was allowed entry into city centre through Badami Bagh.

Army had appealed people not to follow the Joint Hurriyat call.

Taking no chances, authorities beefed up the number of government forces personnel and restricted the movement of people even as the protest marches organized by JKLF in the heart of city was foiled.

Clashes erupted in Maisuma area of Srinagar city after Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik was detained as he tried to march towards Badami Bagh army base.

Malik, who had gone underground to evade arrest, was detained at Budshah Bridge after he along with scores of his followers took out a march towards Badami Bagh army base.

Soon after, Malik took out a procession from Srinagar’s Gaw Kadal area police swung into action.

“Police fired tear gas shells to foil the protest,” an eyewitness said witness, adding that Malik was taken into custody.

He said that people resorted to stone-throwing leading to clashes near Maisuma area.

Before his arrest, JKLF chairman said that Joint Hurriyat had called for the march to “tell the Army to kill us all in one go and satisfy their lust of Kashmiri blood which they have become addicted of.”

Malik accused the international community of maintaining a “criminal silence to protect its business and economic links with India.”

“We want to ask the international community that why this apathy towards human in Kashmir. Isn’t your conscience asking you any questions about this criminal silence? He said that International community needs to change its double standards,” he said

Earlier, Police raided different houses in multiple locations of Srinagar city to arrest Yasin Malik, however, they failed to nab him.

Police also detained Mirwaiz Umar Farooq when he tried to come out from his house in Nigeen.

In a statement a party spokesman quoting Mirwaiz said that it has become the routine of government forces to vandalise and blow up the houses, beat people in Kashmir in the name of CASO.

“It’s frustration of Indian forces that they have just lost war in Kashmir,” Mirwaiz said.

Adding that as Mirwaiz tried to defy his house detention and march towards Badam Bagh Army Cantonment, number of police personnel was already deployed outside his Nigeen residence and he was detained him along with his supporters and lodged in Nigeen Police Station.

Police also arrest Muslim KhawteenMarkaz chairperson Yasmeen Raja after she emerged in Press Enclave Srinagar.

Clashes also erupted in several areas of Srinagar including Barbarshah, Natipora, Mehjoor Nagar, and Padshahi Bagh where a large number of youth took to roads and pelted stones on deployed forces.


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LOK SABHA ELECTIONS: 13.6% turnout in Anantnag district

Segment-wise %age: Bijbehara 2.04, Anantnag 3.47, Dooru 17.28, Kokernag 19.50, Shangus 15.10, Pahalgam 20.37

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, Apr 23: The Anantnag district Tuesday witnessed a low voter turnout of 13.6 per cent in the third phase of the parliamentary elections.

Tuesday witnessed the first phase of the 3-phased polls for Anantnag Parliamentary seat, which also comprises of Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama districts.

Once considered PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s bastion, the Bijbehara segment recorded the lowest poll percentage of 2.04%. Pahalgam recorded the highest turnout at 20.37%.

 

Addressing media persons, Chief Electoral Officer, J&K Shailendra Kumar said that polling took place “without any untoward incident”.

Divulging segment wise details of the district, the CEO informed that the percentage of the total votes polled in Anantnag segment  was 3.47 per cent, Dooru 17.28, Kokernag 19.50, Shangus 15.10, Bijbehara 2.04 and Pahalgam 20.37 %.

Kumar said that out of 5.27 lakh voters (2.69 lakh males) and (2.57 females), 71777 voters cast their vote.

He said that 54,663 voters were to cast their vote for the first time, adding that 44,536 voters were in the age group of 18 -21 years.

In Kokernag as per Kumar, 18312 votes were polled with a polling percentage of 19.36% and in Shangus 13354 votes were polled with a poll percentage of 15.09%.

In Bijbehara, 1905 votes were polled with a polling percentage of 2.04% and in Pahalgam 17649 votes  were polled with a polling percentage of 20.37%.  

Kumar said that “total poll percentage of three phases held so far stands at 48.87%.”

He said that for the smooth polling, the ECI had setup 714 polling stations in the district. The ECI had also established 21 model polling stations, 12 all women model polling stations.

He complemented all those involved in the poll process including political parties and election staff.

The polling took place in 714 polling stations including 21 migrant polling stations and 71 model polling stations.

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Bleak turnout may hit PDP

‘My father’s workers will ensure my victory’

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Srinagar, Apr 23: With the overall voter turnout in the first of the three-phase polling in Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency settling below 10 per cent till 1 p.m. on Tuesday, the fate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti hangs precariously in the balance in what was till recently her party’s bastion.

The bad news for Mufti is that voters in her ancestral town Bijbehara and the neighbouring Anantnag showed very little interest to come out and join the poll process.

Mufti won this Lok Sabha seat in 2014 and resigned in 2016 to become the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir following the death of her father, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.

 

She later won the 2016 bypoll for the Anantnag Assembly seat to get elected to the 87-member state legislative Assembly. Anantnag Assembly seat fell vacant due to Mufti Senior’s death in 2016.

In contrast to the less than 3 per cent voter turnout in Bijbehara and Anantnag segments that have traditionally been PDP strongholds, the turnout was better in Dooru, Kokernag and Shangus segments where her Congress rival, Ghulam Ahmad Mir has strong voter support.

The voter turnout has also been good in the Pahalgam segment, but it is believed that the PDP and the National Conference (NC) would cut almost equally here, again giving an edge to the Congress candidate.

Voting will be held in Kulgam district of the constituency on April 29 and in Shopian and Pulwama districts on May 6 and the voter turnout in these remaining districts may make or mar the electoral prospects of the PDP President.

Meanwhile, Mehbooba Mufti Tuesday said that the workers of her father Mufti Sayeed will ensure her victory in the Lok Sabha polls.

After casting her vote in Bijbehara area of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district, Mehbooba said that “this time my father Late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed is not with me but his workers who have worked for him are still there.”

“I hope the workers of my father will ensure my victory in this election,” Mehbooba told reporters.

Asked about low voter turnout in her hometown Bijbehara, Mehbooba said, “I am hopeful of good results.”

Mehbooba is among the 18 candidates who are in fray for South Kashmir Lok Sabha constituency.

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‘Mehbooba disowned her birth place; we just returned the favour today’

Firdous Hassan

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Bijbehara, Apr 23: Barely 100 meters away from the ancestral home of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) founder Late Mufti Sayeed, in Baba Mohalla Bijbehara, a group of seven elderly men were Tuesday drawing comparison between the ongoing and the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Sitting on a pavement close to late Mufti’s ancestral house, they lamented the party’s downfall in the town particularly after the death of the PDP founder, which was followed by her daughter Mehbooba Mufti taking over the party in 2015.

As their arguments grew louder, a number of youth, who were sitting near the shrine of Baba Naseem-ud-din Gazi (RA), too joined in. They all justified the town’s “total boycott” of the Lok Sabha elections this year.

 

By noon, only 78 votes had been polled in the town which has 6,756 electorates.

Only 27 votes were polled in three polling booths closest to Mehbooba’s ancestral home.

All these men and youth were seemingly unhappy with the PDP chief for “disowning” her home town soon after taking over as the Member of Parliament (MP) and later Chief Minister of the state.

A man in his 60s said that Mehbooba during her speech soon after being elected as MP in 2014 claimed that she belonged to the nearby Akhran village.

“Her father Mufti Sayeed sahab lived here and she too managed to garner people’s support from here in 2014. How could she later claim that she never belonged to the town? The same day we started losing our hopes in her,” he said.

Abdul Salam, another elderly person, said that Muftis “have now even changed their graveyard from Baba Mohalla to Dara Shikoh Park.”

“People are very angry with them. Mufti Sahab could have been buried in his ancestral graveyard, which the family didn’t prefer. In 2014, we saw a large number of voters coming out of their homes to support the party, which is not happening now,” he said.

Regretting the loss the area faced with the death of Mufti Sayeed, the locals claimed Mehbooba “ignored the people of her town. That was the reason why people were showing their backs to PDP”.

“Mufti Sahab would visit to the town every now and then. But we haven’t seen Mehbooba ji after she won her elections in 2014. So people this time preferred to boycott the election,” said a youth supported by others.

One of the locals questioned the PDP’s approach towards the town by pointing towards a street, which was littered with garbage.

“Do you expect streets in a chief minister’s town looking like this?” he questioned, while pointing towards the street.

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