Voters out early morning in Kangan area of Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir today. Photograph by Bhat Burhan for The Kashmir Walla

Srinagar: Amid high security and complete shutdown, the second phase of 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir witnessed polling in Srinagar-Budgam and Udhampur parliamentary constituencies, which saw the voter turnout in Srinagar doubling to 14.8% and peaceful than previous election.

Unlike Baramulla constituency on last Thursday, where a 12-year-old boy was killed during clashes between protestors and the government forces, the situation comparatively remained peaceful on Lok Sabha’s second phase of polling in Srinagar and Udhampur constituencies.

Considerable number of people in Budgam district voted for their candidates. While speaking to The Kashmir Walla, a voter from Budgam district said, “If we won’t vote, the situation in Kashmir can never change. If we want change, we should vote.”

Other voters from the Budgam district shared their reasons for taking part in polls. A voter after casting his vote said, “Vote is our right. We can choose our candidate who could work for the betterment of the people.”

Compared to 2017 by-polls, the turnout for the Srinagar parliamentary seat was higher with 14.8 percent whereas Udhampur witnessed 70.9 percent polling today. In 2017, the voter turn-out for Srinagar- Budgam constituency was 7.1 percent. Over 29.81 lakh people in the two seats were eligible to vote who decided the fate of 24 candidates.

In Srinagar, 7.9 percent voter turnout was recorded, in Ganderbal 17.8 percent whereas in Budgam, 21.6 percent polling was reported.

However, clashes were also reported from some places in which three civilians were injured in Haproo village of Budgam district. The stone throwing was also faced by the government forces in Beerwah, Kandoora, Chewdara, Kawoosa, Ratsun areas.

A complete shutdown was observed following the boycott call given by pro-freedom leaders, and several calls for election boycott by the militants. However, the train and internet services were also suspended by the authorities for ‘security measures.’

In Srinagar, the situation remained calm on the polling booths while at few places minor stone-pelting were reported.

Commenting on the election process in Srinagar Udhampur constituencies, Director General of Police (DGP), Dilbagh Singh, said that polling in Srinagar and Udhampur Lok Sabha seats concluded peacefully. “Barring some incidents of violence, polling in Kashmir valley remained peaceful. In Jammu province also, situation remained peaceful so-far,” he said.

Surprisingly, the last election (in 2017) used human shield, Farooq Ahmed Dar of Beerwah village, found himself on election duty this time. In 2017, a picture of Dar tied to the bonnet of an army jeep splashed across the front pages of newspaper, invoking sharp but divided reactions in the country.

For this parliamentary seat, there was a triangular battle between Farooq Abdullah of National Conference (NC), Irfan Ansari, Peoples Conference and Agha Mohsin from Peoples Democratic Party in Srinagar.

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