Voting picks up in Srinagar (Second Lead)

May 7th, 2009 - 1:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, May 7 (IANS) Voting began on a dull note but picked up after three hours in Jammu and Kashmir’s prestigious Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency amid sporadic incidents of violence Thursday.
Polling stations were thrown open to voters in the 15 assembly segments spread over the three districts of Srinagar, Ganderbal and Badgam at 7 a.m.

By 10 a.m., the voter turnout was 14 percent in Kangan, 13.9 percent in Charar-e-Sharief, 12.4 percent in Ganderbal, seven percent in Khansahib, 6.5 percent in Badgam, 4.7 percent in Beerwah, three percent in Chadoora, two percent in Sonawar, 1.8 percent in Hazratbal, 1.65 percent in Khanyar, 1.5 percent in Idgah, one percent in Amira Kadal, one percent in Batmaloo, 0.65 percent in Zadibal and 0.5 percent in Habba Kadal.

In the Sonawar assembly segment of Srinagar city, a by-poll for the assembly seat is being held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections.

The seat was vacated earlier this year by NC patron and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah prior to his elections to the Rajya Sabha.

The main contest for the assembly seat is between the National Conference (NC) candidate Yasin Shah and Muhammad Ashraf Mir of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The fight for the Srinagar parliamentary seat is mainly between Farooq Abdullah and Molvi Ifftekhar Hussain Ansari, senior Shia leader and PDP candidate.

In Srinagar, a petrol bomb was hurled at a polling station but not much damage was caused.

“The petrol bomb was thrown by unidentified people at the Umer Colony polling station in Lal Bazaar area,” 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.

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.

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