Fear keeps ‘Tibetans’ away from polling

SRINAGAR: Fear kept the residents of ‘Tibetan’ colony at Eidgah area here away from polling on Wednesday.
Around 120 ‘Tibetan’ families reside in the colony located close to the Mazar-e-Shuhada (martyrs’ graveyard) at Eidgah. The voters from this ethnic minority otherwise known for its keenness to vote didn’t turn up at the polling station out of fear spread by purported anti-poll posters .
“Some days ago, some unidentified persons posted posters on the walls, asking us not to vote. The posters had appeared in the dead of the night, and they vanished in a similar manner. So, we decided not to vote,” a group of women at the colony told Kashmir Reader.
The colony’s polling booth was located in the ‘Regional Public School’ along with the booths of other areas. At noon, none of 183 votes had been cast at polling booth.
The exposed location of the booth made the voters further reluctant to exercise their franchise.
“Earlier, the booth used to be in the school located inside the colony. But this time they had shifted it to the school where other polling booths are also located. If we vote, we will be easily noticed by the people who don’t vote,” a middle-aged man from the colony said without revealing his name.
“It is another reason for us not to vote. We will vote when everyone does,” he added.
The shops and restaurants in the colony were all closed due to the strike called by the pro-freedom camp. The inhabitants were busy in their routine chores, but distressed with the feeling that couldn’t vote as they usually do.
“We are obviously distressed, but we are a minority here. We have to follow the masses,” said a group of men in their 30s and 40s. “It is a general feeling, but none of us can talk about it in public media or public.”