Amid threats of militancy, a boycott from separatist groups and 2 mainstream parties, National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party, the local urban body polls in the Indian-administered Kashmir on Monday took place peacefully after a perennial period of 13 long years. The Jammu region of Rajouri registered the highest turnout, while Bandipora, which comes under North Kashmir witnessed the lowest turnout.
A minor incident of stone pelting was witnessed in Srinagar, as reported by Times of India. Peaceful voting was witnessed in Bishnah, Arnia, Khour, Jurian, Akhnoor, Gandhi Nagar, RS Pura, Bishn RS Pura and other wards. But the turnout in Kashmir was quite different, as most voters boycotted the polls amid a shutdown called by separatist groups.
Earlier Separatist along with regional Parties announced a boycott of polls, citing reasons of unambiguity over Centre’s position on Article 35, which guarantees special rights, privileges to the permanent residents of the state.
Voting in Kupawar district recorded the highest with 29%, while other places saw less than 10% of turnout. Srinagar., the summer capital of J&K registered just 4% of voter turnout till 1:30, as reported by TOI.
Meanwhile, regional parties remained adamant to boycott the polls due to ruling BJP’s unclear stance on the Article 35A. Earlier National Conference president Farooq Abdullah had also said that his party will boycott 2019 Lok Sabha elections if Centre does not clear its stance on Article 35A.
Though no militant-related violence was reported in the state, internet services were suspended in southern parts of Kashmir.