Violence mars fifth phase of Kashmir polls (Second Lead)

December 13th, 2008 - 4:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Pulwama (Jammu and Kashmir), Dec 13 (IANS) The fifth phase of Jammu and Kashmir’s staggered elections Saturday was marred by violence in Pulwama constituency as anti-poll protesters came out on the streets and clashed with police, leading to injuries on both sides and the death of a protester, officials said.The first four hours saw moderate voting in the six south Kashmir constituencies of Tral, Pampore, Pulwama, Rajpora, Shopian and Wachi.

In the clashes in Pulwama, 13 people, including three anti-poll protesters and 10 security men, were injured.

In Koil village of this constituency, security forces opened fire to disperse violent protesters who resorted to heavy stone pelting at the security forces.

A Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) vehicle came under heavy stone pelting by the protesters, forcing the troopers to open fire in self-defence, an official said.

Three protesters were injured, all from Koil village. One, identified as Muzammil alias Raja, died in hospital, police said.

After the clashes, the protesters entered the local mosque and started making anti-poll announcements on the loudspeaker.

In Pahu village, a small group of anti-poll protesters was dispersed by the security forces.

A similar protest took place in Karimabad village of this constituency and security forces had to disperse the protesters using batons and tear smoke shells. Security forces also fired warning shots in the air to quell the protests in Karimabad.

In Malikpora and Dangerpora polling stations in Pulwama, voters queued up to exercise their franchise with women outnumbering men.

In Ratnipora village, from where three locals are contesting the polls in this constituency, voters turned up in fairly large numbers to cast their votes and the queues continued to swell after the first two hours.

Voters lined up for casting votes in Lajura village of this constituency too.

In the first four hours, Tral constituency recorded 25 percent, Pampore 16 percent, Pulwama 18, Rajpora 25, Wachi 9.5 and Shopian 13 percent voting, officials said. Voting began at 8 a.m.

Voters in Pulwama and Shopian districts are casting their ballots to elect six representatives for the 87-member assembly.

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