In Polls in the Shadow of Terror, Kashmiris Vote in Large Numbers

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Srinagar:  Ignoring calls for boycott and braving the cold weather, a large number of people came out to vote in the ongoing Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir today. Voting is taking place in three Kashmir districts - Budgam, Pulwama and Baramulla - in the shadow of serial terror attacks on Friday in which 12 security personnel and one civilian were killed.
Here are the latest developments:
  1. At many places, voters lined up at polling stations much before the start of the voting time at 8 AM.
  2. Till 3 pm, while Budgam district witnessed 57 per cent voting, Sopore registered a lesser 28 per cent polling, officials said.
  3. Uri, which witnessed violence last week, registered the highest voter turnout of 72 per cent. Other areas which recorded high turnouts include Cherari Sharief at 69 per cent, Khansahab at 68 per cent, Gulmarg at 62.5 per cent, Rafiabad at 69 per cent and Beerwah at 55 per cent.
  4. Police said a petrol bomb was hurled by unidentified men at a polling station in Gulmarg constituency. No casualties were reported in the incident. Barring this, polling across all 16 constituencies of the state, was going on peacefully.
  5. Terrorists had struck last week in multiple attacks in Uri, Sopore and Tral. The worst attack was at Uri, where terrorists sneaked into an army camp and killed nine soldiers and three policemen. Grenade attacks took place in Tral on Friday and Sunday.
  6. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who is seeking re-election in the third round of staggered elections in Jammu and Kashmir, has blamed the terror strikes on hype over the turnout, saying it was like "walking into a tiger's cage and pulling its tail."
  7. On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a rally in Srinagar - the first by the BJP in over a decade - and in Jammu's Samba. "The finger that presses the EVM (Electronic Voting Machine) button is stronger than the one on the AK-47 trigger," PM Modi said, congratulating people for defeating "the bullet with the ballot."
  8. Besides Mr Abdullah, who is contesting from Beerwah in Budgam, three state ministers and 10 more lawmakers are among 144 candidates today. The ruling National Conference holds only four of the 16 seats going to polls; the opposition PDP represents nine.
  9. Elections are also being held in 17 of the 81 seats in Jharkhand today. The constituencies are spread over eight districts -- Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Bokaro, Chatra, Seraikella/Kharsawan, Ramgarh, Kodarma and Giridih.
  10. The next phase of elections - the fourth - will be held on December 14. The counting of votes is on December 23.




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