Amidst incidents of stone pelting near some polling stations, low voting of around 10% was recorded on Monday in the terrorism infested Kulgam district of the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat of South Kashmir.
Polling booths were deserted in Kulgam and Homshalibugh and poor polling percentage was registered in the other two segments of districts Noorabad and Devsar. People started coming out in Noorabad and Devsar as the day progressed and queues of men and women were seen outside the polling booths.
Polling percentage was just 0.91 in the first two hours at 9 am but it rose to 2.8% at10 am with 0.5% in Kulgam, 5.9% in Noorabad, 0.4% in Homshalibugh and 4.9% in Devsar. The polling percentage increased to 6.67 at 1 pm and at 3 pm it was 8.42%.
Two youths were injured in clashes with the security forces at Kulgam. They have been identified as Zahid Shafi and Waseem Ahmad, both residents of Kulgam.
Incidents of stone pelting near polling stations were reported from various parts of Kulgam district but the situation remained under control due to the timely action of the security forces.
Polling in the Kulgam district of the Anantnag was held in the second of the 3-phase election for the seat. The Lok Sabha polls to this constituency are being held in three phases due to security reasons.
Elaborate security arrangements were made for a smooth, fair, and peaceful conduct of polling with a heavy deployment of Central Armed Police Forces and the local police amidst the separatists’ call for the boycott of the elections and also the looming threat of terror attacks by Pakistan backed terrorists. All 433 polling stations in the district were declared hypersensitive.
Prominent among the 18 candidates in the fray are Hasnain Masoodi (NC), Sofi Yousuf (BJP), Ghulam Ahmad Mir (Congress) and Mehbooba Mufti (PDP).
The Anantnag parliamentary constituency spreads over four districts, Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama. Polling in the Anantnag district was held on 23 April. Polling in Pulwama and Shopian districts will be held on 6 May.
As a precautionary measure, the authorities had suspended the mobile internet services in south Kashmir from Sunday night. The train service was also suspended from Banihal to Baramulla which passes through Kulgam district.
The district observed a near total shutdown during the polling and public transport mostly remained off the roads.
Kulgam district has a total number of 3, 45,486 electors including 1, 79,607 male, 1, 64,604 females, 1262 service electors (1254 male and 08 female) and 13 transgender voters. Kulgam Assembly segment has the highest number of 98, 298 voters, while Noorabad has the lowest 77, 171 electors.
Assembly segment of Devsar has 91, 288 voters and Homshalibugh segment has 78, 669 voters.