Tough Security For Indian Kashmir's First Vote Since Autonomy Cancelled
Faizan Hashmi 2 months ago Sat 28th November 2020 | 07:20 PM
Srinagar, India, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 28th Nov, 2020 ) :Thousands of troops guarded polling stations as Indian Kashmir on Saturday held its first direct elections since the government stripped its semi-autonomy last year.
But officials said nearly 52 percent of the 700,000 eligible voters cast ballots during the first of the eight days of polling, braving the security, coronavirus fears and snow-covered terrain to elect local council members. results are expected on December 22.
Thermal scanners were set up at polling booths and staff handed out face masks and hand sanitiser as precautions against the coronavirus.
Top election official K.K. Sharma told reporters polling had been peaceful barring "a small incident of stone pelting" by protesters in the southern Kashmir valley.
At one booth in the Kashmir valley, Faizi, 70, told AFP she had voted "to facilitate development work, like paving the roads".
While the councils have only limited powers, several Kashmir political parties, including the influential National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) formed an alliance to use the election to campaign for the restoration of the region's political autonomy.
Mufti was among scores of political leaders held under house arrest for months after the clampdown. Police, however, denied she was under detention again.