Re-poll under siege met with rebuff

2% turnout, several stations draw a blank, protest only in one Budgam village                  
Ishfaq Reshi 
Budgam: In the re-poll in 38 stations in areas of Budgam, Chadoora and Beerwah segments of Srinagar parliamentary constituency, 709 votes were cast on Thursday out of the total 35,000 registered voters, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) told Kashmir Reader.
According to CEO Shantamanu, 2 percent of the electorate cast their votes in areas where a re-poll was held. Large contingents of police and paramilitary forces were deputed to secure the 38 polling stations to avoid any violence similar to what was witnessed on Sunday when the poll was held.
Two companies, one each of police and paramilitary CRPF, were deployed at each polling booth as compared to the deployment of one to two units consisting of 10-12 personnel on April 9.
The authorities also blocked broadband internet services again on Thursday and mobile internet services continued to remain shut for the fifth consecutive day. The internet services were resumed later in the day.
The pro-freedom leadership had called for a shutdown in all poll-bound areas on Thursday.
Shantamanu added that no votes were cast in more than 20 polling stations. The highest voter turnout was recorded at Sehpora in Narbal area where 242 votes out of the total electorate of 1,108 were cast. No votes were cast in areas like Gondipora, Goripora and Soibugh.
In Beerwah, a poll boycott was observed in almost all the polling stations. Beerwah is the home constituency of leader of the opposition Omar Abdullah. Most of the polling stations here recorded zero polling.
When this correspondent reached Peerpora after crossing the volatile Aripanthan area, a huge number of troops were guarding roads and the polling station with almost no locals in sight.
There was no voter inside the polling station except a few employees deployed inside the polling station that is situated at the highest place of the locality. At 10am, only 10 votes had been cast at 36-Peerpora station out of the 145 registered voters.
After crossing the station, came the Budran area, where a scuffle broke out between PDP and NC workers over allegations of bogus voters being brought to the polling station. Locals said that the ruling PDP brought at least 20 bogus voters to the station. The members of PDP and NC came to blows outside the station.
Outside the polling station, the people of the village, peeping through windowpanes, were keeping an eye on those who went inside the polling station.
At 15-Kanihama voting station at 1240 hrs, only 27 out of the 957 voters had cast their vote. In Gondipora-A, as compared to 363 votes cast on April 9, no votes were cast till 4pm.
Amid the shutdown, clashes between youth and government forces broke out in Naslapora village in Budgam. Youths gathered on the road leading to the polling booth at Naslapora, where three votes had been cast by the afternoon, and pelted the police and paramilitary forces with stones.
The forces retaliated by firing teargas shells and pellets to break up the protests.