Sumbal Sonawari:We voted to protect JK’s special status
Bandipora, Apr 11:
The road to main town in Bandipora was devoid of traffic Thursday morning but queues
of voters were seen waiting to cast their votes outside the polling booths.
Voters had lined-up in large numbers at a polling booth set
up in a local school in Dangerpora. The booth was ringed with three-tier
security comprising of CRPF, police, and BSF.
Ghulam Hassan, 60, had reached to the polling booth early in
Asked why he cast his vote and defy the boycott call by separatists
and militant outfits, he replied: “We want to end Governor’s rule in the state.
We shall send a representative to the parliament, who will end our miseries.
This vote is to protect our special status. Protect Article 370 and 35A.”
Asked the same question, a woman, carrying a child in her lap,
replied: “Unless we don’t vote, our miseries won’t end. The harassment will
continue and outsiders will rule us. We want Mohammad Akbar Lone in the
The scenes were almost similar at a polling booth in
“We always want a good representative in the parliament. He
should represent the Kashmir cause,” Ghulam Mohammad, 60, said.
“We also want overall development of our area,” he added
while displaying the ink mark on his finger nail.
Near NC Candidate Mohammad Akbar Lone’s home at Poshwari Naidkhai,
the queues of the voters grew even longer.
At three polling booths located at a local school in
Poshwari, out of 1800 voters, at least 50 percent had already cast their votes
by 1 pm.
At the same time, the polling agents of political parties
had a scuffle. “Why are you asking people to vote for your candidate?” a
middle-aged man told a polling agent of the rival party.
Another polling agent tried to push him. The policemen on
duty, however, pacified things and the voting restarted.
Abdul Rashid, who was waiting in a queue, said there was “nothing
wrong in casting the vote”.
“This election is to address our issues and to defend
state’s special status. There will be bloodshed if there is any tampering with
special status of the state. Only Akbar Lone and Engineer Rashid can talk about
Kashmir issue in the parliament,” he said.
The three polling booths of Manzpora, Mirpora, and Hirpora
villages of Sonawari wore a festive look.
Hundreds of people even including children had gathered to shout
slogans in favour of Lone.
In these polling booths as well, of the 3500 voters, over 50
percent had already cast their vote by 2 PM.
Abdul Salam Lone, an elderly person, said: “Only Lone Sahab
can talk about Kashmir in the parliament. This vote is to protect the special
status of the state, and stop harassment of Kashmiris.”
A first time voter in parliamentary elections, Naziya asked other
people to vote as well.
“We shall send a representative to the parliament, who
conveys the sufferings of Kashmiris to the world. Poll boycott is no solution,”
Scores of people visited Lone at his house which was a few
hundred metres away from the polling booths.
“Did you and your mother vote,” Lone asked his son, who is
an advocate by profession.
“Yes we did,” he replied.
The entire village seemed jubilant.
The scenes, however, were completely different just a few
kilometers away from Lone’s residence.
The road leading to Hajin town wore a deserted look. At
three polling booths, just three voters out of 2,235 had cast their vote by 3
“Please write that Hajin boycotted the elections,” a
commuter told this reporter.
A few hundred metres away, in another polling booth on the
banks of Jhelum in Hajin, out of 876 voters, 345 had cast their vote.
“When we saw people voting, we decided to vote too. We have
been neglected by the successive governments. We hope our issues are solved,”
said Manzoor Ahmad Guroo, who lives on the banks of Jhelum and earns his living
by catching and selling fish.