Recent gunfight impacts voting in Ahmad Nagar

Srinagar: Ahmad Nagar has developed into typical city suburb. Over the last couple of decades or so, the area has undergone a massive change with its paddy fields giving way to big colonies and palatial houses—thanks to the influx of the city people.
The city people’s movement and the recent killing of two Lashker militants in an encounter in the area have contributed to how the area voted this time around. It used to be a ‘good turnout’ zone, but Wednesday proved to be different.
It was nearly a total boycott. The large dip in the turnout was hastened by the recent killing of two LeT militant’s in an encounter a fortnight ago with two houses getting damaged in the gunfight that lasted more than 20 hours.
“It is quite contrary to what I have seen in the past, when locals turned in huge number to vote” said Muhammad Afzal, a local resident.
The decline was evident in the figures, with one of the polling stations in a private school near bus stop for Shah Mohalla and Shadab Colony witnessing 9 voters out of 1323, while the other housed in the government run poultry farm receiving 42 voters out of 1175 votes in this area till 3:30 pm.
According to the residents, the area used to vibrantly participate in the elections and many families had been die hard supporters of National Conference with Peoples Democratic Party gaining traction in the recent past.
Nazir Ahmad, a local youth, told Kashmir Reader that in the previous election for Parliamentary constituency, more than 350 votes got polled in poultry farm booth when the total voters were around 900.
All that changed post encounter.
“Be it elections for Municipal Corporation, Legislative assembly or the parliamentary form, the area has always been in forefront registering excellent poll percentage,” Ahmad said.
“I cannot figure how the encounter changed the mindset of the people, but it is the main reason for boycott with locals quite unhappy by the killing of the youth and the authorities not handing over the bodies of the slain youth to perform their last rites,” he said even crediting the poor performance of the government for the boycott.
One of the booths where voters from the neighboring Umarhair village had to cast their votes was shifted from Ahmad Nagar, with locals there saying that they feared venturing into the area would invite trouble this time around.