Once known for the presence of local and foreign militants, Saloora, a village in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district today made history when people in large numbers came out to vote and became a “part of the change” they wanted to see.
Voters began queueing up early in the morning outside their respective polling stations to wait for their turn to exercise their right to franchise.
Saloora was traditionally known for boycotting the voting process due to presence the militants. The village that has a huge population of Jamaat-e-Islami supporters used to witness low turn-out due to militant’s threats against those who went against their diktat of poll boycott.
However, now that the presence of militants in the area has diminished, people have come out of the fear and participated in the poll process.
Three polling booths at the Girls Higher secondary School witnessed negligible voter turn-out in the last assembly election in 2008 and the parliamentary polls in 2009 and this year.
But, this time people came out in large numbers and the polling stations saw brisk voting since early morning.
Serpentine queues were seen outside the polling booths with a good number of female voters waiting for their turn.
“This is the first time that I am voting and it feels good,” said a young voter Sumaiya.
“The people of Ganderbal have been exploited by the politicians so far. We have come out to vote for a change. We want Ganderbal to get rid of the politicians who have done nothing so far for the people,” she said.