Surrendered Kashmir militant feels ‘great’ after voting

November 17th, 2008 - 1:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Bagial Dhara (Jammu and Kashmir), Nov 17 (IANS) Mohammad Hussain, a former militant who had surrendered in 2004, was third in the queue Monday morning to cast his vote at the Bagial Dhara polling station nestled in the mountains in Poonch district. “It was a great feeling to cast my vote and exercise my power of franchise,” middle-aged Hussain said with a smile after voting.

Hussain said he was taken away by a group of militants from his house here in 1998, leaving behind his wife and three children.

“I was taken across to Pakistan where I got arms training in a camp,” he recalled.

He later joined the Jaish-e-Mohammad militant outfit and carried out some of their operations.

“It was after persuasion by villagers, especially the sarpanch (village head) that I surrendered in 2004,” Hussain told IANS.

He cast his vote after a long time and says he feels great about it.

“I just cannot express my happiness and satisfaction after casting my vote for which I was waiting impatiently.”

Hussain now regrets having taken up arms earlier in his life.

“It was the biggest mistake to have taken the wrong and unholy path of militancy, but I feel happy to be back into my life,” said Hussain, who revealed that he had voted for the National Conference as his family has been a strong supporter of the part for years.

“I want to see Farooq Abdullah become chief minister of the state. It is only he who has the potential to deliver to this impoverished and backward state,” he said.

Hussain added that many more surrendered militants in the district were keen to cast their votes.

Officials in Poonch said that polling was underway smoothly in all the three constituencies of the district.

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