A terrorist and a cop were killed and another ultra was injured and hospitalised in different incidents while third phase of ongoing Municipal elections concluded with mixed voter turnout in Kashmir and Jammu divisions of the J&K State on Saturday.
An overall 16.4% polling was witnessed in the Phase-III of Municipal Polls-2018 across Jammu & Kashmir on Saturday. The third phase passed off peacefully in Kashmir while shutdown was observed in poll bound areas in Srinagar, Anantnag and Baramulla districts.
Chief Electoral Officer J&K Shaleen Kabra Saturday evening in Srinagar said that in Jammu division 81.4% polling was witnessed in 4 Urban Local Bodies of district Samba that went to polls while Kashmir division including Leh & Kargil witnessed average 3.5% polling with Municipal Committee Uri in Baramulla district recording the highest of 75.3 % voting. The lowest poll percentage of 1.8% was recorded in Srinagar district.
In Jammu division highest polling percentage of 85.73% was recorded in Bari Brahamana ULB, the CEO said.
Kabra said the cumulative poll percentage in all the three phases till date is 41.9% with 68.4% voting recorded in Jammu division and 6.7% in Kashmir Division. The final phase of the Municipal Polls is scheduled to be held on 16 October.
CEO said that 365 candidates are in the fray for 96 wards of 8 Urban Local Bodies for the 3rd Phase comprising a total electorate of 193990 electors.
He said the aggregate polling percentage in 3rd phase was recorded at 16.4% while the aggregate polling percentage in three phases in the State was recorded at 41.9%.
The statistics revealed that out of total electorate of 1, 53, 316 in Srinagar district, only 1.8 % voters turned up for voting in various areas of Srinagar district in 3rd phase on Saturday. In Anantnag, 3.2 % voter turnout was recorded out of the total electorate of 5469.
Similarly out of 3552 electors in Baramulla district, 75.3 % voter turnout was recorded.
In south Kashmir’s Pulwama and north Kashmir’s Bandipora districts, some candidates have been elected unopposed while in the other wards no candidate had filed papers for the third phase contest.
Pertinently, low to moderate turnout was recorded in the second of the four-phased municipal body elections in Jammu & Kashmir on October 10 with only 3.4 per cent voters turning to polling booths in Kashmir valley while Jammu region witnessed enthusiastic 78.6 per cent turnout. The overall percentage stayed at 31.3 per cent, less than the 56.7 per cent turnout in the first phase of the Municipal polls held on October 8.
Observers had been deployed, including micro-observers at 222 hypersensitive polling stations in the Kashmir Division and 19 in Jammu Division in 3rd phase.
Municipal Elections-2018 are being held in four phases, covering 79 municipal bodies with an electorate of about 17 lakh electors. A total of 3372 nominations have been filed for 1145 wards.
The Municipal Polls are going on amid boycott call by the Kashmiri separatists and decision of two mainstream parties—National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to stay away from the process.
The normal life remained largely affected in most of the poll bound areas in Srinagar and other districts of Kashmir Valley during Municipal polls on the call of Kashmiri separatist leadership commonly called Joint Resistance Leadership.
Meanwhile, a local Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Shabir Ahmad Dar was killed in an encounter at Babagund area of Pulwama district in south Kashmir after gunfight that broke out previous midnight in the district.
An injured terrorist who sustained grievous wounds during gunfight in south Kashmir’s Pulwama area is undergoing treatment at Srinagar hospital. Sources said his condition is very critical and is now under police custody at the hospital.
The injured terrorist was identified as Showkat Ahmad Dar of Murran area of Pulwama.
Reports said that two more terrorists were trapped in the area out of which one was critically injured and taken to Srinagar hospital by unknown persons.
The third terrorist believed to be former Territorial Army man Zahoor Ahmad Thokar, was reportedly trapped but he managed to escape from the area. Thokar had decamped with service rifle several months ago and deserted Army who is considered as an active Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist.
The situation in the Pulwama town and adjascent areas was reported tense and additional police and para military forces personnel in riot gear had been deployed in the town to maintain law and order. Clashes were reported from the area as stone pelting continued in the area. The train services were suspended between Banihal via south Kashmir and Srinagar. Internet services in the district also remained snapped.
Suspected terrorists last night barged inside the residential house of cop Javeed Ahmad Lone and fired upon him. In this incident, he received critical bullet injuries who later succumbed to his injuries.
Meanwhile, the normal life remained affected on 2nd consecutive day on Saturday in north Kashmir’s Kupwara areas to “mourn the killing of AMU scholar-turned-terrorist (Dr) Manan Bashir Wani and his associate” in a gunfight with the security forces in Shatgund village of Handwara town on Thursday. His killing triggered protests and clashes in many areas of Kashmir and at least over two dozen persons were injured in the clashes. Reports of shutdown were received from Kupwara, Trehgam, Handwara, Lolab, Langate and some adjoining areas of the Kupwara district for the second consecutive day. Most of the business establishments including shops are closed and public transport is also off the roads. The attendance in government offices also remained affected.
Authorities had closed all the schools and colleges in the district on the 2nd consecutive day as a precautionary measure.
Adequate security forces personnel had been deployed at several places to prevent untoward incidents and maintain law and order.
Reports said local people continued to pour in from different areas of Kashmir in the house of Manan Wani and his associate Ashiq Hussian in Langate “to express solidarity with their families”.