Voting ends peacefully in Jammu and KashmirNovember 17th, 2008 - 7:39 pm ICT by IANS
Srinagar/Jammu, Nov 17 (IANS) Voting ended peacefully in Jammu and Kashmir for the first phase of the seven-phase elections Monday with a large number of people exercising their franchise despite a call for boycott by Muslim separatists.Polling started at 8 a.m. amid tight security in 10 constituencies spread over the Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley, the Hindu-majority Jammu region and the mainly Buddhist Ladakh. The voting for the 87 constituencies is being held in seven phases over a month.
Barring a clash between a group of people protesting against the elections in Bandipora town and the police and a scuffle between workers of National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the neighbouring Sonawari constituency, balloting progressed smoothly, said a poll official.
Polling had to be suspended in one polling station in Sonawari constituency after a clash broke out between the workers of National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party over counter-allegations of booth capturing.
Members of both the parties destroyed some electronic voting machines, forcing the authorities to suspend polling. In a few constituencies in Poonch region, polling time was extended by an hour.
Barring Jammu region, the final poll percentage was awaited as poll officials said they were compiling data from different constituencies.
The final polling percentages in Jammu region were, Mendhar 67 percent, Poonch Haveli 60 and Surankot 55.
The figures for the four seats in Ladakh region as on 2 p.m. were Zanskar 45, Kargil 42, Nobra 36 and Leh 32.2 as on 2 p.m.
At 2 p.m., Gurez in the Kashmir Valley had topped with 51 percent followed by Bandipora 29 and Sonawari 28. This is significant given the boycott call of the separatists and the fear of violence in the region.