Kashmiris overwhelmingly boycott final phase of Indian elections


ISLAMABAD: Kashmiris overwhelmingly boycotted the fifth and final phase of Indian parliamentary election drama in Shopian and Pulwama districts.

According to Kashmir Media Service, over 97 per cent voters stayed away from the polling process. The polling booths wore a deserted look and on several booths, no single voter came to vote on Islamabad’s Lok Sabha seat.

The All Parties Hurriyat Conference Chairman, Syed Ali Gilani in a statement issued in Srinagar, termed the exemplary election boycott observed by the people as a symbolic referendum against Indian subjugation.

Meanwhile, dozens of youth were injured when Indian troops fired pellets and teargas shells during protests against the election drama in Shopian and Pulwama districts. At least two dozen youth were injured in South Kashmir and five in Saraf Kadal and Kadikadal areas of Srinagar. Unknown persons hurled grenades and petrol bombs on polling stations in Rahmoo, Tral and Rajpora areas of Pulwama and Government Boys Higher Secondary School, Shopian. Protesters also set ablaze a Panchayat Ghar.

A complete shutdown was observed in south Kashmir’s Shopian and Pulwama districts, today. All shops and business establishments were closed while traffic was off the roads. Call for the shutdown and boycott was given by the Joint Resistance Leadership. Mobile Internet service remained suspended in South Kashmir, while train service between Baramulla and Banihal was also cancelled.

Senior APHC leader and Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Jammu and Kashmir Chairman, Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai in a statement demanded the unconditional release of all political prisoners in the holy month of Ramadan. The Jamaat-e-Islami of occupied Kashmir in a statement strongly denounced the shifting of its chief spokesman, Advocate Zahid Ali, from Srinagar Central Jail to Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu.

Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference Chairman, Shabbir Ahmad Dar in a statement paid glorious tributes to Saddam Padder, Professor Mohammad Rafi, Aadil Malik, Tauseef Shaikh and Bilal Molvi on their first martyrdom anniversary.

Indian authorities again failed to produce Jammu and Kashmir Muslim League Chairman, Masarrat Aalam Butt before a Srinagar court on the scheduled date of hearing.

The Grand Mufti of Kashmir, Mufti Nasir-ul-Islam in a statement issued in Srinagar, today, greeted Muslims on the holy month of Ramadan beginning tomorrow.

On the other hand, people from all walks of life joined a protest march in Srinagar against the state suppression and failure of the authorities to provide basic facilities to the people. Holding banners and placards and chanting slogans, protesters started the march from Magarmal Bagh and proceeded towards civil secretariat. The march was organized by Awami Ittihad Party led by Engineer Rasheed.