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Sumbal Sonawari:We voted to protect JK’s special status

poling booth at sumbal


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 the morning.

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 parliament.”

The scenes were almost similar at a polling booth in Shadipora.

“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,” she added.

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 pm.

“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.