Over 26 percent voting in Srinagar, one killed in firing

Srinagar Lok Sabha seat saw a 26.08 percent turnout Wednesday, slightly higher than in the 2009 polls. Polling was peaceful but a youth was killed and two others injured when security forces, escorting a polling party returning after voting ended, opened fire after a mob pelted stones at them in the old city.

Addressing the media here, Jammu and Kashmir chief electoral officer (CEO) Umang Narula said there has been 26.08 percent in the constituency which has 12.06 lakh voters and comprises 15 assembly segments. District-wise there was 11.46 percent voting in Srinagar district, 45.61 percent in Ganderbal and 39.50 percent in Badgam district.

“These figures are likely to increase marginally as the exact polling figures are being received from different areas of these districts which would subsequently add up the final poll percentage,” he said.

“Around 2,500 migrant voters also exercised their franchise in special polling booths set up in Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi,” he added. Nearly 27,000 migrant voters are also registered in this Lok Sabha constituency.

Narula said that 1,546 polling stations were set up across the constituency, which included 233 critical and 1,021 hypersensitive polling booths.

“Webcasting was done in as many as 44 booths, besides 15 digital as well as 51 video cameras were installed for covering the voting process. 197 micro observers were deployed for the Parliamentary constituency,” Narula said.

Union minister and National Conference candidate Farooq Abdullah along with his son, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, and other members of his family cast ballots at the Burnhall polling station in the city. The former chief minister faces Tariq Hamid Karra of the Peoples Democratic Party and 12 others.

The turnout in Amira Kadal, Batmaloo, Habba Kadal, Sonawar, Hazratbal, Khanyar, Zadibal and Idgah was affected to a large extent after separatists asked people to boycott the polls.

However, hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani’s call for a ‘civil curfew’ evoked no response.

Villagers in Ganderbal and Budgam defied the boycott call and came out to vote.

No incident of violence was reported from anywhere in the constituency during polling, while movement of tourists to the hill stations of Sonmarg, Gulmarg and Pahalgam remained unaffected as taxis plied normally.

However, as voting ended at 5 p.m., a polling party returning with the voting machines was attacked with stones by a mob in the old city’s Nawa Kadal area, a police official said.

Security forces opened fire in self defence, and one person identified as Wasim Ahmad, 25, was killed.

Two other people, Nazir Ahmad and a woman named Halima, were injured in the incident, police said. Halima was hit by a pellet in her leg.

Asked about the incident, Inspector General of Police (Kashmir), Abdul Ghani Mir, who was present at Narula’s press conference, said he had received reports about injuries to two people, but would confirm the other details only after getting the full report about the incident.

In 2009, Srinagar recorded 25.25 percent voting.