In occupied Kashmir, complete shutdown was observed to protest against the first phase of local bodies’ election drama staged by India in the territory, today.
Call for the strike has been given by the Joint Resistance Leadership comprising Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik. Very low turnout was witnessed as polling stations wore a deserted look due to overwhelming boycott of the farcical elections by the people.
More than 50,000 paratroopers were deployed in addition to more than 700,000 soldiers already stationed in the territory to ensure the Indian military exercise in the name of elections. The troops were put in riot gear to deal with anti-India protests. Polling was held for only 178 out of 598 seats, as 236 candidates returned unopposed while 184 seats did not see a single candidate out of widespread resentment against India. Internet services were suspended in most parts of Kashmir Valley including Kupwara, Bandipora and Baramulla districts.
Meanwhile, several people including a woman were injured in clashes between Indian forces’ personnel and protesters in Badgam, Srinagar and other parts of the territory. The woman, identified as Shabeena, was injured after being hit by pellets fired by the troops in Lankreshi Pora area of Bandipora. Clashes were also reported from Bagh-e-Mehtab and Machoo areas of Srinagar. Police vehicles were pelted with stones in many areas. A BJP candidate, Adil Ahmad Buhru, was injured after he was attacked with stones at Dachigam in Bandipora.
The authorities continued to place Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Qazi Yasir, Muhammad Yousuf Naqash, Ghulam Ahmed Gulzar, Hakeem Abdul Rasheed, Bilal Siddiqui, Muhammad Yasin Attai, Syed Imtiaz Haider and several activists under house arrest or in detention.
The Hurriyat forum led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in a statement condemned fresh spree of arrest launched by the troops across the length and breadth of Kashmir. The forum said whenever election drama is enacted in Kashmir it brings endless miseries and suffering to the people in the form of unending frisking, cordons, searches and arrests.
The Chairman of Ummat-e-Islami, Qazi Yasir addressing a news conference in Islamabad town before his arrest called for a march towards Redwani on Friday against the establishment of army camps in Kulgam district.