Crowd attacks BJP candidate in Nowshera
SRINAGAR: Clashes erupted in Soura area of Srinagar on the eve of fourth and final phase of municipal elections, with people attacking polling stations and government forces using tear smoke shells to disperse them. According to reports, government forces also fired bullets in the air to control the situation.
On Tuesday morning, anti-poll protesters attacked a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate in Nowshera, Shazia Khan, who was attacked with stones at Nowshera Chowk. Though Shazia escaped unhurt with minor bruises on her nose, her car suffered damages. Anti-poll protesters threw stones and bottles at her car which broke its windows. She fled from the spot along with her personal security officers, witnesses said.
According to reports, minor clashes also erupted between anti-poll protesters and government forces in the Botshah Mohalla in Lal Bazaar during the day.
Towards the evening, public protests erupted in Ranawari area where, as per reports, government forces used tear smoke shells to disperse people.
A complete shutdown was observed in all poll-bound areas in Kashmir on the call of the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) to boycott the “sham” polls. Shops, private business establishments and fuel stations remained closed while majority of the transport remained off the roads. Private cabs and auto-rickshaws were seen plying on roads in Srinagar.
Internet service was snapped in most parts of Kashmir while in Srinagar the bandwidth was reduced to 2G speeds. Educational institutions also remained closed as the government had declared a holiday in areas where the fourth phase of municipal polls was scheduled.
Security was intensified across Srinagar with government forces erecting barricades around all areas where voting was to be held. Areas including New Theed, Harwan, Nishat, Brane, Dalgate, Pantha Chowk, Palapora, Tarabal, Kawadara, Hawal, Alamgari-Bazar, Gilli-Kadal, Nowshara, Lal Bazar, Botshah Mohalla, Umer Colony, Jogi Lankar, Kathi Darwaza, Lokut Dal, Bud Dal, Hazratbal, Tailbal, Habba Kadal, Chatterhama, Zakura Soura, Buchpora and Ahmad Nagar witnessed complete shutdown and thin or no traffic plying on roads.
In Ganderbal district, all shops, fuel stations and other business establishments were shut in poll-bound areas. Some traffic was seen plying on the roads.
Polling for the final phase began at 6am amid stringent security arrangements and ended at 4pm.
The authorities had earlier caged all the three JRL leaders, with Syed Ali Geelani continuing to be under house detention, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq put under house arrest, and Mohammad Yasin Malik arrested on October 3 and lodged at police station Kothi Bagh in Srinagar.