J-K assembly polls: hanging of Afzal Guru still looms large over Sopore
Two Gs, separatist Syed Ali Geelani and executed Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, remained the factor behind the lowest voting percentage of around 30 percent in north Kashmir's Sopore constituency in Baramulla district with assembly segments.india Updated: Dec 09, 2014 21:46 IST
Two Gs, separatist Syed Ali Geelani and executed Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, remained the factor behind the lowest voting percentage of around 30 percent in north Kashmir's Sopore constituency in Baramulla district with assembly segments.
The entry to Sopore town, which remains fountainhead of Kashmir separatism, looked garrisoned all day with the area prone to militant attacks and stone throwing by locals. There was trickle of voters unlike long queues of voters in other constituencies.
For first five hours of polling, Sopore town with 1561 votes in three polling stations, only 132 voters came out to vote. However, the picture was grim in native village of Guru, who was hanged in 2013, fuelling a cycle of violence in the valley.
At Guru's village Seer the polling booth of Ghaat Seer Jagir only five votes was cast out of 468 by afternoon. "It will be betrayal with his sacrifice to cast vote. He was hanged because he was Kashmiri and a Muslim and nothing else," said Asif Amin, a resident of Sopore town.
Hardline Hurriyat chairman Geelani's native village Dooru painted the same picture. Till noon no voter had turned up at the Dooru polling booth. By 3pm around five votes were cast.
Geelani, who was a local MLA twice in 1972 and 77 before seeking separation of the state from the country, has asked people to boycott polls and demanded meaningful and result-oriented dialogue between the two countries.
"Polls have failed to yield any solution to larger Kashmir problem. So why waste time on voting," said Nazir Malik, a Geelani supporter in Dooru.
Posters pasted by militants groups also directed voters to stay away from elections.
However, Sopore has gone a notch up with figures. From eight percent in 2002 to 19.9 pc in 2008, the constituency is set to have a record polling of more than 27 percent for this year. Though, there was 38 percent polling in 1996, it came under severe criticism amid allegations of coercion by the security forces.