Jammu and Kashmir: Phase Two of Panchayat polls begin, polling to end at 2 pm

Srinagar:The second phase of Panchayat polls kick started in Jammu and Kashmir amid stringent security following intense conflict over the past few weeks in the region, IANS reported.

Large contingents of police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have been deployed at the polling stations to ensure a peaceful process, according to the report.

Since morning, Jammu has witnessed small queues whereas the early winter chill in Kashmir has seen a low voter turnout at the polling stations.

The polls were being held at 2,179 polling stations including 828 in the valley and 1,351 in Jammu division.

Polling started at 8 am and will end at 2 pm.

A poll official said 4,014 candidates were in the fray for 281 Sarpanch and 1,286 Panch seats in the second phase.

A total of 90 Sarpanchs and 1,069 Panchs have already been elected unopposed in this phase.

Keeping the law and order situation in view, 601 polling stations have been categorised as hypersensitive, including 490 in Kashmir division and 111 in Jammu.

A total of 3,29,818 electorates will be voting for Sarpanch constituencies and 2,07,796 for Panch constituencies.

Photo Voter Slips have been distributed among the voters to inform them of their polling station.

Panchayat polls were being held in nine phases in the state.

For the first phase held on November 17, an overall percentage of 74.1 was registered in the state while 64.6 per cent voters came out in the Kashmir Valley, 79.4 per cent came out in the Jammu division.

Panchayat polls were last held in the region in 2011.

Meanwhile, the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) had appealed for a complete shutdown today in lieu of the ‘sham’ elections taking place.

In a statement, JRL comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik had asked people to observe a complete protest shutdown in Kalaroos, Machil, Rajwar, Ganstan, Nowgam, Sangrama, Wagoora, Kangan, Rathsun, Bijbehara areas going to polls in the second  phase of “sham” panchayat elections “thrust on them by the authoritarian state.”

The JRL had asked the people to “demonstrate their total rejection and disregard of this futile exercise by staying away and boycotting it completely.”

Moreover, Police on Monday detained Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik in Srinagar.

Reports said a contingent of police surrounded the JKLF office at Abi Guzar and detained Malik.

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