Udhampur: Several Kashmiri Pandits on Tuesday exercised their franchise at a special polling station here for Anantnag parliamentary constituency amidst tight security.
There are 137 Kashmiri Pandit voters registered at the booth where police and paramilitary force personnel have been deployed.
Flashing his inked finger, a voter expressed the hope that the long-pending demand for the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley will be fulfilled by the government.
“I belong to Fatehpora. Voting for the right person is a democratic right. Our main demand is the safe return of the Kashmiri Pandits, who were unlawfully evicted from the Valley 30 years ago. We hope that the government would fulfill this demand of ours,” the middle-aged man told ANI here.
A large number of Kashmiri Pandits were forced to flee the Valley in the 1990s in the wake of violence and threats by terrorists.
Polling for 116 Lok Sabha seats began at 7 am today across 13 states and two Union Territories in the third phase of the general elections.
PDP chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who was elected from the Anantnag seat in 2014, is contesting again from the constituency. She is pitted against Ghulam Ahmad Mir of Congress and National Conference’s new entrant Hasnain Masoodi.
There are six Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir-Baramulla, Jammu, Srinagar, Udhampur, Anantnag and Ladakh.