Several voters thrashed in ‘roadside frisking’
Groups of youth in north Kashmir’s Baramulla and Sopore towns Thursday thrashed scores of people who voted in yesterday’s parliamentary polls, witnesses and reports said. The Baramulla-Kupwara segment went to polls in the last phase of elections Wednesday, recording an overall voter turnout of 39 percent.
Armed with lathis, witnesses said, a group of youth appeared at Azad Gunj, Cement Bridge and TawheedGunj in Old Town Baramulla and stopped many vehicles coming from areas which recorded a higher voter turnout yesterday. “They frisked the vehicles and searched for people who had ink mark on their index finger,” witnesses said. “People with ink-marked fingers were either thrashed inside the vehicles, or brought out and beaten on roadside. Some people, with ink on fingers, had the fingers bleeding.”
A resident of Kupwara district, which recorded a voter turnout of over 60 percent, said: “As we reached Azad Gunj Bus Stand, a group of youth suddenly entered inside our Tata-407 vehicle and asked us to show the index finger. Some people had ink-marked fingers and they thrashed them severely.”
President, Sumo Stand Handwara, Muhammad Qasim, said: “Our drivers informed us that about 24 passengers were severely thrashed in Baramulla town for casting their vote yesterday.”
Similar reports of thrashing of people with ink-marked fingers came in from Sopore town also.
A group of youth stopped a vehicle coming from Kupwara to Sopore at Bus Stand this morning and thrashed several passengers who had ink on their fingers.
Police later swung into action and chased away the youth.
Meanwhile, police lobbed several teargas shells at youth near Cement Bridge Baramull this evening after they spotted them searching for people who voted yesterday.