Day after violence, poll business as usual in J-K

  • Toufiq Rashid, None, Srinagar
  • Updated: Dec 07, 2014 08:26 IST

A day after eleven security men, two civilians and eight militants were killed in multiple militant attacks in the Valley on Friday, political parties and prospective voters showed no signs of backing out.

Political parties held dozens of rallies and road shows across the Valley on Saturday as the third phase of the ongoing elections are due to be held on December 9. Sixteen assembly constituencies in central, north and south Kashmir will be going to polls that day.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, while condoling with the families of deceased security personnel and civilians, hoped the Centre strengthened the anti-militancy set up in the state. "I hope @HMOIndia takes steps to plug the gaps in CI (counter insurgency) grid,'' Abdullah wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Abdullah is seeking to win from his newly chosen seat, Beerwah, in central Kashmir after giving up the one in his traditional bastion in Ganderbal.

PDP president Mehboba Mufti who blamed the media for "hyping" the high turnout in the first two phases of the polls and her party's patron Mufti Mohammad Sayed both expressed dismay over the sudden spurt of violence in Kashmir.

"Such tragic incidents only bring catastrophe for the families of the victims whether a soldier, a policemen, civilian or a militant," Sayeed said. He, however, reiterated that political issues plaguing the subcontinent for decades shall have to be resolved through peaceful means to put an to the environment of hostility and armed conflict in the region.

Mehbooba Mufti was campaigning for her party in south Kashmir's Anantnag district. She is an MP from the area.

BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain also addressed an election rally in south Kashmir's Tral constituency, the site of a grenade blast on Friday.

Speaking to media in Srinagar, Hussain said militants were "desperate" after seeing the huge turnout in the first two phases.

"The people will give befitting answers by coming out in even higher number in the coming phases,'' he said.

Ordinary people in relatively places like Khanyar in Srinagar said such attacks were part of "boycott politics"'. "These attacks keep happening. Those who have to vote will vote,'' said Ghulam Hassan, a shopkeeper.

However there were others in the area for whom voting has never been an option. "We have never voted. We will not vote even today. When we don't believe in the election process, what does vote mean to us,'' said a group of students outside the Islamia college in Hawal.

Srinagar which is going to polls on December 14 (in the fourth phase) saw 26% voting turnout in the recently held Lok Sabha elections. Whether the number will rise this time around remains to be seen.

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