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Toufiq Rashid, Hindustan Times
Srinagar, April 12, 2011
Kashmir is going for Panchayat polls after 10 years inspite of rising campaign against the elections by separatists in the valley. While Geelani has given a boycott call against participation last week, a few posters have appeared in many parts of the valley. The first phase of which is to be held April 13. More than 4,000 panchayats would be going to polls, which will conclude by May-end.

However, other separatists have remained nascent to the polls.  Kashmir would be going to polls after Jammu and Kashmir assembly election in November-December 2008 which saw unprecedented 61% participation of the voters , is reported to have shared his ways of holding the polls.

The matter came up for discussion between Governor N N Vohra and chief minister Omar Abdullah in their meetings and a security review was taken by the DGP police Kuldeep Khoda.

Kashmiri separatist leaders, particularly the hardline Hurriyat faction chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, have started delivering anti-India and anti-poll speeches. He has cautioned the people against participation in the polls.

Meanwhile, the security forces have started area domination in the villages where polls are to be held.

Over 50 lakh people are to cast their votes. The elections will be held on a non-party basis, which means alliance partners - Congress and National Conference - can contest against each other. And the Congress is hoping to cash in on the resumption of Indo-Pak talks.

"People should vote in large numbers so that their daily problems are taken care of. Our Prime Minister and (Congress) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi favour talks with Pakistan," said J&K Congress president Saifuddin Soz.