Kashmir shuts on poll day
Srinagar: Normal life was hit in the Kashmir Valley Monday due to a strike called by the separatists against the holding of the local bodies’ polls, the first phase of which began Monday morning across the state.
Shops, business establishments, private offices and fuel stations remained closed here in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.
They added that public transport was off the roads, while a few private cars, taxis and autorickshaws were seen plying in some areas of the city.
Similar reports of shutdown were received from the other district headquarters of the valley, the officials said.
They added that while there were no restrictions anywhere in the valley, security personnel were deployed in strength in the vulnerable areas to maintain law and order.
The separatists, under the banner of the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), had called for a shutdown on Monday against the holding of the local bodies’ polls in the state.
The JRL — comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik — asked the people to observe a complete strike against the “so-called elections”.
Voting for the first phase of the four-phased local bodies’ polls began Monday morning across the state.
The authorities had placed Mirwaiz under house arrest on Sunday, while Malik was taken into preventive custody earlier this month. Geelani continues to remain under house detention for some time now.
Witnesses said that the forces deployed on the roads in strength had erected temporary barricades on the roads and were also frisking the commuters throughout the day.
In view of the elections, the authorities had heightened the security across the Valley to ensure smooth and peaceful conduct of the polls.
Meanwhile, clashes erupted between youth and forces at some places including Bagh-e-Mehtab, Mochu and in Bandipora district.
The youth amid voting took to the streets and started pelting stones on the forces, who in retaliation used tear gas canisters to disperse the agitating youth.
Reports said that a BJP worker has also sustained injuries after the youth threw stones on them.
A top police official said that the polling day in Kashmir passed off peacefully, saying that a few stone pelting incidents were reported at some places, which he claimed didn’t sustain for a long.
Besides, the authorities had also suspended the trains services from Baramulla-Banihal here.
Officials informed that the train services were suspended as ‘security measures’.