Anti-poll protests in Kashmir, but voting on (Lead)

December 13th, 2008 - 11:47 am ICT by IANS  

Pulwama (Jammu and Kashmir), Dec 13 (IANS) Hundreds of anti-poll protestors in Pulwama constituency in south Kashmir shouted slogans against the electoral process and asked people not to cast their votes for the fifth phase of assembly elections being held in Jammu and Kashmir Saturday.Protestors in Koil village in Pulwama took to the streets, dissuading voters from going to the polling stations, which opened at 8 a.m.

Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel fired several shots in the air to disperse the protestors. However, they barged into a mosque and used the loudspeaker there to make anti-poll announcements.

Another small protest was held in Pahu village of the same constituency.

Voting had begun on a low key note in Pulwama town but poll officials said it was picking up. In Malangpora village of Pulwama constituency, many voters were in queue at the polling stations. More than two dozen men and women had lined up to cast their votes in Kakapora and Pinglina villages of the same constituency.

Voters in Pulwama and Shopian districts are casting their ballots to elect six representatives for the 87-member assembly. Despite sub-zero temperatures Saturday morning, polling began as per schedule in the six constituencies of Tral, Pampore, Pulwama, Rajpora, Shopian and Wachi.

“Over 120 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) are assisting the local police in Pulwama and Shopian districts to ensure that nobody interferes in the polling process,” a police officer told IANS.

In Rajpora and Wachi constituencies, dozens of voters came out despite the morning winter chill to exercise their franchise. Reports of voters lining up outside polling stations also came in from Pampore.

Few voters ventured out of their homes in Tral and Shopian constituencies but polling was expected to pick up as the day warms up.

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