Kashmir limps to normalcy post Budgam violence

After the Election Commission made a decision to postpone the by-election in Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency to 25 May from 12 April, the authorities chose to restore internet services in the valley. A government school and a panchayat office which were to serve as polling booths, were set on fire.

In a letter to the state Chief Electoral Officer, the Commission said it is ordering repoll based on the reports of the returning officers and observers.

Train services between the valley and Jammu region's Bannihal town also remained suspended.

"To maintain peace and serenity in Kashmir the government should send 10,000 soldiers with lots of arms, ammunitions and money, so that they can reside and maintain law and order in the state", Swamy said.

The protests were against the Indian parliamentary elections for the Srinagar constituency, which saw a meager voter turnout of only 6.5 percent, down sharply from 25.55 percent in 2014.

The violence since then, largely in the form of troops firing on civilian crowds with shotguns after protesters throw stones, has left 84 civilians dead and more than 12,000 civilians and security force personnel wounded.

Eight civilians were killed when the security forces opened fire during the voting process in the Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary by-poll on Sunday. The EC cited a constitutional obligation to hold the polls before April 16. Its candidate from Anantnag, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's brother Tasaduq Mufti, said the government had informed the poll commission in writing that "this is not a right time for polls".

Protesters earlier set ablaze a school building - the second in two days - in Shopian that was designated as a polling station for the Wednesday by-poll, the officer said.

As per police, These people were attacking the polling station at Dalwan village and had also damaged EVMs to stop polling.

Large spread violence was reported from Budgam area in central Kashmir, which is a part of the three districts voting in the elections - Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal.

  • Leroy Wright