Ompura: Stone pelters vote to avoid police harassment

Budgam: It would be hard to imagine a stone thrower voting, but in this central district some of them did on Wednesday. Not to help any political party win or bag monetary benefits, but to avoid police harassment in the future.
One of the early voters at Ompura, Shariq Ahmad (name changed) was released on Tuesday after spending 16 days in the police lockup. What prompted him to cast vote? “Just to use it as a certificate to avoid further arrest.”
“I was released after 16 days from detention from a police station only yesterday. I voted because I think it would rescue me from reprisals,” said Fayaz Ahmad Bhat, who polled for the first time.
Bhat believes that casting his ballot would relieve him from further detention and could erase the tag of being a stone thrower.
“I am now fed up with this life. My family is suffering because of me. I accept I was a stone pelter, but now I want to see some relief,” Bhat said. “May be casting my vote would get me that relief and peace.”
Bhat is not alone in the group that wants to use vote as a weapon to have hassle-free life.
Ahmad, who didn’t reveal his first name, said casting vote would mean him being considered as “Indian” by police.
“I can’t tell you how much misery I have faced. I also want to live peacefully. And I have firm believe once I cast this vote they (police) will consider me as an Indian who also has human heart, which yearns for some freedom,” Ahmad said.
When asked did they vote under any pressure, the reply was big “no”.
“Nobody asked us to vote. It was our own choice to go for it,” the boys said in unison.
Ahmad rattled some papers from his wallet and came up with an FIR copy lodged against him in different stone pelting cases. The copy reads numerous sections 177, 148, 149, 307, 332, 336 and 427—all under Ranbhir Penal Code—slapped on him.
“You can yourself see these sections, and most of them I don’t know what are they all about,” he says.
The youth were joined by another young boy of around 19 with a slip in his hand bearing his voter ID number.
“I won’t answer any of your queries. Let me confess I used to hurl stones,” the young boy said when this reporter tried to ask reason for voting in this election.