Blast, Boycott, Bashing marked May 7 voting in North Kashmir

6 injured; situation normal: DIG North Kashmir  

Srinagar: The polling was held in North Kashmir’s Baramulla Lok Sabha seat amid clashes and shutdown reported from various areas of the region. According to the details provided by the KNS correspondents, five to six people including police and CRPF personnel were injured during the clashes between security forces and stone pelters. The stone pelting incidents were reported from the various areas of North Kashmir including Fateh Garh, Nadihal, Baharmpora, Saripora, Wadan, Hadipora, Bumai, Main Chowk Sopore, Dangerpora Sopore.

Militant outfit Hizb-ul-Mujahideen has claimed the responsibility of the blast that according to the outfit took place in Palhalan area on Wednesday. In a tele statement to KNS, Hizb operation spokesman Balleeg-ud-Din claimed that the Hizb is behind the blast. However, police said a bomb disposal squad defused one explosive device that was found in Palhalan in which one CRPF personal received minor injury. Reports informed further that in Hardshiva-Zaloora village of Sopore area, protesters attacked the polling booth and later took control of the same. Police tried to whisk the protesters away that led to the major clashes between both the sides. According to eye witnesses, tear gas shells were fired to disperse the angry mob. The clashes inside the polling booth created panic with the poling staff running for cover.

Baramulla town also witnessed heavy clashes between forces and protesters with the people taking to streets in large number- raising pro-freedom slogans. Reports also informed that youth assembled in groups at four major bridges of the area after which clashes erupted between protesters and police. Police used tear gas shells to disperse the protesters.

Heavy stone-pelting was reported from Nowpora polling booth in Bandipora. Reports informed that the youth in the area took to streets and threw stones at the nearby forces’ deployment. Protests erupted in Nowpora, Bandipora. Locals stated that they were moving towards the polling booths but they were thrashed and abused allegedly by the army. The Palhallan areas of North Kashmir boycotted the polls on May 7 with most of the people preferring to stay indoors.  Reports also informed that not even a single vote was recorded in six polling booth of the area till late hours.

People in large number attacked the poling staff with stones at Seelu Sopore with the protesters covering them from all sides and hurling stones. The CRPF later fired several rounds of bullets in air to control the situation. Firdous Ahmad of Naberpora Bandipora was reportedly injured after a teargas shell hit him during the clashes at Bandipora. He was later shifted to Srinagar Hospital where is condition is under observation.

Another incident was reported when at Langate protesters hurled stones on a polling booth number 47 of Hampura Langate. A police constable namely Javed Ahmad was hit by a stone in head – leaving him severely injured. He was shifted to Kralpora district hospital where doctor referred him to SKIMS. Meanwhile, a 100-year-old person namely Ghulam Ahmed Baba, of Bandipora left home and casted his vote in a nearby polling station.  Baba told reporters that he voted to change the system. Talking to KNS, Ghulam Hassan Bhat, DIG North Kashmir said: “The overall situation remained normal except for few minor clashes which resulted into injuries to five to six people. One CRPF personal received minor injury while one explosive device was being effuse in Palhalan.”