At least eight persons were killed and several others injured as security forces opened fire on rampaging mobs in various parts of Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency on Sunday, as the violence marred polling which saw an abysmally low 5.52 per cent turnout till 1400 hours.
Army was called out to help security forces control a rampaging mob which pelted stones and hurled petrol bombs to set a polling booth ablaze in the Ganderbal district of the Srinagar constituency.
Violence marred polling in some other parts of the Srinagar parliamentary seat as stone pelting incidents were reported from over two dozen other places across the three districts of Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal which constitute the Srinagar constituency.
As per reports, hundreds of protestors stormed a polling station at Pakherpora in Chrar-e-Sharief area of Budgam district and ransacked a building housing a polling booth.
Officials said that security forces fired several warning rounds to disperse the mob, which did not relent. Six persons were injured in the firing
The officials said the BSF, deployed for security of the polling stations, fired live rounds as they were not provided with pellet guns.
Security force personnel were forced to abandon two polling stations in Chadoora area as they came under heavy stone-pelting by mobs, the officials said.
National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, who is contesting the by poll to Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, today claimed that the PDP-BJP government had failed to provide a conducive atmosphere for peaceful election after clashes erupted during polling.
“The election should have been peaceful. That’s what elections are. People have to show their presence and support to whoever they want to. That is the first and foremost thing about the freedom of this nation.
The voter turnout was very low till 1400 hours with only 5.52 per cent of the 12.61 lakh electorate exercising their franchise, the officials said.
Large number of voters in many areas chose to give polling a miss, even in places like Ichgam, Maloora and Budgam which have traditionally seen high turnout.
Opposition National Conference leaders including its President and candidate, Farooq Abdullah, and his son Omar attacked the Mehbooba Mufti-led J&K government for having completely failed to ensure smooth conduct of the polls.
In Chenar area of Ganderbal district, one Mohammed Ramzan Rather and his wife and other villagers faced the wrath of angry protestors when they were on their way to vote. He was rushed to Kangan district hospital with a bleeding head.
The nearby locality of Wakura wore a deserted look after crowds pelted stones at security forces in the morning, as securitymen fired several rounds of tear gas shells to disperse the protestors.