One person has died and several were injured as police clashed with
protesters in Indian administered Kashmir during the fifth phase of
seven-phased elections on Saturday.
Violence broke out early in the fifth phase of
elections in Indian-administered Kashmir. Hundreds of anti-election
protesters took to streets in Koil village of Pulwama district in
Southern Kashmir and staged demonstrations. The demonstrators met
resistance from the police.
Police also chased away demonstrators at several other places in the district.
Ahmad Ashai is the top civilian official in Pulwama district. "At
Karimabad and Paigaon we had some minor incidents which have been
brought under control, however some of our police personnel got
injured," he said. "However at Koil, fire had to open [there was
firing] which has resulted in injuries to three persons, who have been
shifted to hospital."
Early in the morning an undeclared
curfew was in efffect in Srinagar and major towns to prevent separatist
marches. Eleven constituencies spread over three districts in Kashmir
went to the polls Saturday.
Kashmiri separatists have called for
a voting boycott, citing the fact that India uses elections to justify
its control over the region. Most of the separatists have been either
detained or put under house arrest in the last two months to prevent
the poll boycott campaign. Some of them have been booked under the
infamous Public Safety Act that allows detention without a trial for up
to two years. Undeclared curfews and restrictions have prevented Friday
prayers in Kashmir's largest mosque for the last six weeks.
Despite the boycott call an unprecedented number of people have cast their votes in the first four phases of voting.
heavy turn out in Kashmir, where anti-India sentiment runs deep, has
surprised many Kashmiri analysts. Weeks before the polls began, Kashmir
had seen some of the largest pro-freedom demonstrations in decades.
The seven phased staggered voting process in Kashmir began on November 17 and will conclude on December 24.
staggered process allows authorities to move and deploy thousands of
troops in each area to prevent violence and poll disruptions.