Anantnag By-Elections: Protesters clashed with security forces in several areas of Srinagar. (PTI photo)
Srinagar: An election in Kashmir, scheduled for Wednesday, must be cancelled, the ruling People's Democratic Party has said. Its candidate for the by-election for the Lok Sabha in Anantnag is Tasaduq Mufti, the brother of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. The call to postpone the election comes after Srinagar, just 59 kms away, witnessed unprecedented violence as it voted yesterday.
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Schools to be used as voting centres on Wednesday were set on fire late last night.
Yesterday, Srinagar voted for its Lok Sabha member. Among the candidates is former Chief Minister and opposition leader Farooq Abdullah.
The turnout was just 7 percent -the lowest in 27 years - in response to a call for a boycott by separatists. The Election Commission is now considering whether to declare yesterday's election invalid on account of the poor turnout.
Eight civilians were killed yesterday in different incidents as protestors forced their way into voting centres in the Budgam district near Srinagar. State and paramilitary police fired bullets and shotgun pellets as thousands of protesters shouted anti-India slogans. Nearly 100 security personnel were injured in the violence.
The Chief Minister's brother, who is her party's candidate for Anantnag election on Wednesday, said it's important to "assess situations and make things better. There was written communication (from the government) that this is not a right time for polls."
Opposition leader Omar Abdullah, whose father is Faroq Abdullah, said that the Chief Minister's brother's comment is "an indictment of his sister Mehbooba Mufti's government and its abject failure."
"Protesters damaged and snatched EVMs (electronic voting machines) at some places," said, Shantmanu, the state's chief electoral officer, who uses only one name, about yesterday's election. He said that so far, there is no plan to cancel Wednesday's voting in Anantnag.