Poor initial voter turnout, violence in Srinagar (Lead)

May 7th, 2009 - 11:20 am ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, May 7 (IANS) A petrol bomb was hurled at a polling station in Jammu and Kashmir’s prestigious Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency Thursday but not much damage was caused. Voter turnout in the first two hours of polling in the seat was poor, officials said.
“The petrol bomb was thrown by unidentified people at the Umer Colony polling station in Lal Bazaar area of Srinagar. But no major damage was caused by this,” a police officer said.

Small groups of anti-poll protesters also hurled stones at a few polling stations in the old city areas but were chased away by security men.

Most voting stations witnessed poor voters turnout. The Boatmen’s Colony (Bemina) on the outskirts of the Srinagar was the only place where voters came out in a large numbers.

“Voting process has started picking up in Kangan, Beerwah, Charar-e-Sharief and Khansahib assembly segments. It is likely to gain momentum in other assembly segments as well by mid-day,” a poll official said.

The separatists have called for a 50-hour shutdown and poll boycott here.

Authorities have placed all senior separatist leaders, including the hardline Syed Ali Geelani, moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik, under house arrest.

The main contestants for this seat are Farooq Abdullah, former chief minister and patron of the ruling National Conference (NC), and Molvi Ifftekhar Hussain Ansari, senior Shia leader and the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate.

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