On the second phase of Lok Sabha elections, Srinagar went to polls amid complete shutdown and internet gag on Thursday. The summer capital largely witnessed boycott barring in some traditional votebank pockets where mild and brisk polling took place.
Majority of the polling booths in Srinagar and its outskirts were empty and wore a deserted look as people preferred to stay away from the ballot. The day was marked by shutdown called by Joint Resistance Leadership, clashes, internet gag and tight security arrangements by the authorities.
A small percentage of voting was witnessed in the Ganderbal and Budgam district, but majority of the polling booths in Srinagar remained desolate and empty.
On early Thursday morning, few voters had turned up inside a few polling booths on the outskirts of Srinagar. However, areas falling under Old City Srinagar and Budgam town witnessed massive boycott.
However, in parts of Bemina area of Srinagar, people came out in a large number to cast their vote.
Ali Muhammad, who came to cast his vote early morning, said that the “communal parties” like BJP and its allies are “dangerous” for entire Kashmir community.
“As Kashmiris, we should vote out BJP and their allies,” he said. “Their presence is dangerous for the entire state.” Their manifesto is anti-Kashmir, Ali added. “So we need to vote against them.”
70-year old Ghulam Hussain from Gund Lawaypora believes that besides resistance for freedom struggle, developmental work is also a must. “We are fighting since three decades, but development is must for the survival,” he said.
Another local, Abdul Rashid Wani, said: “Kashmir is a political problem; it needs to be resolved through political process not by election boycott.”
But largely, a complete shutdown was observed across the valley on Thursday.
The streets and roads wore a deserted look as public transport was off the roads. The shops and other business establishments were closed.
The internet services were also suspended in most parts of the valley. The policemen and paramilitary forces were seen guarding the streets and polling booths.