Amid violence that claimed eight lives in police firing, by-election on Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary seat registered just 6.5 per cent turnout on Sunday. This was worst turnout in thirty years. Amid large scale violence, which claimed the lives of eight civilians, the prestigious seat recorded a turnout at 6.5 per cent, the state’s Chief Electoral Officer Shantanu told journalists. He said more than 100 security personnel were also injured in the violence. The CEO also said that re polling might be ordered on anywhere between 50 and 100 booths.
Army was deployed in different parts of the valley as rampaging mob pelted stones and hurled petrol bombs at various polling booth. In Budgam, hundreds of protesters stormed a polling station and ransacked a building housing a polling booth. The security forces fired several warning rounds to disperse the mob, which did not relent. Six persons were injured in the firing, of whom two later succumbed to injuries.
In another incident, security forces opened fire to quell a stone-pelting mob in Ratxuna Beerwah area, leaving one Nissar Ahmed dead. The security forces opened fire after a mob attacked the polling station at Dalwan village and reportedly damaged the EVMs and prevented voters from exercising their franchise. “Security forces opened fire to protect the polling staff,” a police official said.
At least 261,397 voters are eligible to cast vote in the Srinagar-Budgam seat where 1,559 polling stations have been set up. Nine candidates, including National Conference President Farooq Abdullah, are in the fray.
The by-poll from the Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary constituency is being held because the seat fall vacant after the then sitting member Tariq Karra resigned during the unrest of 2016.