BUDGAM: The re-poll in 38 polling stations in Budgam district is likely to again be a cause of violence as the locals have decided neither to vote nor to allow polling staff to arrive.
Residents of these areas on the day the Srinagar parliamentary seat went to polls had padlocked polling stations, asked polling staff to leave at many places, and engaged government forces in stiff stone-fighting. At Kralpora, civilians had escorted both polling staff and government troops to a nearby CRPF camp. The clashes with government troops had claimed seven lives in the district that day.
In Dalwan village, which falls in the Chrar-e-Sharif constituency, the first two, back-to-back killings of the day happened here. No vote out of the nearly 3,000 voters was cast here, for the first time in its history of participation in elections held under the Indian system. The residents of Dalwan believe that holding elections again here is equal to playing with fire.
“We will see how the government holds elections here. Forget about casting vote, we will not allow them to set foot here,” said Muntazir, a teenager.
Irfan Ahmad, another teenager, said that on Sunday the polling staff and government forces had arrived at 3:30am in the early morning, without giving any inkling of their arrival. Immediately after the dawn prayers, about 20 youths assembled around the school that was the polling station and asked the polling staff to leave. “This time, we will not even allow them to reach the polling station,” Irfan asserted.
In Rather area, where lived one of the two youths killed in Dalwan village, rage is prominent among the youngsters. “You think we are going to accept the dictates of the state? We will have ourselves killed, but we won’t allow an election here,” Irfan said.
At Chadoora, the only area in the entire Budgam district where some hundred votes were cast, youth have taken charge of streets. They have divided themselves into groups, one assigned to attack a polling station, another to record the scenes on phone cameras, and the third to keep vigil for arrival of additional forces.
“We don’t have resources but we have strength and will to keep the troops at bay. We don’t know whether we will be successful, but we won’t give them easy ground,” said Rizwan, a resident of one of the villages in Chadoora.
Chief Electoral Officer Shantmanu told Kashmir Reader that “security has been increased” to prevent any untoward incident.