Complete shutdown was observed in the areas which were scheduled to undergo polling for the second phase of so-called local bodies’ elections in the territory, today.
All shops and other business establishments were closed in poll-bound areas of Srinagar and other parts of the Valley while traffic was off the road. Call for the strike was given by the Joint Resistance Leadership comprising Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik.
Strict restrictions were imposed particularly in Srinagar, Badgam, Islamabad, Kulgam, Bandipora and Kupwara districts to prevent demonstrations against the polls. Besides personnel attached to 400 companies of paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force, 50,000 additional troops were deployed for the election duty. Internet speed was reduced by over 90 per cent in the territory.
Very low turnout was witnessed in the polling held for 158 out of 263 wards spread over a dozen districts in Jammu and Valley, today. People’s indifference to the election process can be gauged from the fact that 65 wards had just one candidate each who returned unopposed, while 40 wards had no candidate, at all. Only 1.4 per cent turnout was reported from summer capital, Srinagar.
Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Jammu and Kashmir Chairman and senior APHC leader, Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai in a statement issued in Srinagar termed the ongoing process as mere military drill.
The All Parties Hurriyat Conference in a statement issued in Srinagar said a military operation is under way in the name of elections.
APHC leader Bilal Siddiqu, Democratic Freedom Party, Muslim Conference and Salvation Movement in their separate statements and meetings said that the rejection of the election drama by the overwhelming majority of the Kashmiri people should serve as an eye-opener for the world’s so-called largest democracy.
The Awami Action Committee in its statement termed October 10 as another black day in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, saying that it was on this day in 1965 when prominent Kashmiri martyr leader, Mirwaiz Molvi Muhammad Farooq, was arrested by the Indian authorities for his pro-self-determination ideology.
The authorities continued to place almost all Hurriyat leaders under house arrest or in detention.
Indian police arrested Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front leader, Noor Muhammad Kalwal in Srinagar.
The APHC-AJK chapter held a protest demonstration outside the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, today, against the Indian state terrorism and continued detention of Hurriyat leaders and activists in occupied Kashmir.—KMS