In 10 polling stations, only 1 vote cast
Hajin, May 7: A burly young man picked up a piece of brick and drew a line across the main road here, dividing nearly 10 polling stations from the main market. Anyone crossing the red streak, the youth shouted, is ‘treachery.’
As Baramulla parliamentary constituency went to polls Wednesday, this volatile town observed a complete boycott, with just one vote cast out of the total electorate of 7577 in about 10 polling stations.
“Voting means selling blood of our martyrs,” said a youth, Aijaz Ahmad, who didn’t give his surname for fear of retribution. “That’s why you see a red line here.”
For long, political parties have been trying to maintain an iron grip on Hajin. National Conference (NC) ruled it for long but the party was outnumbered later. Congress made a remarkable foray at some point of time and strongly gripped it.
In a check-mate strategy, NC regained its control, only to see its efforts being ruined by self-styled renegade commander, KukaParray, in ‘90s who tried to make it his own realm.
And as pro-India political parties try to control the town – once dubbed as hotbed of renegades–the scene on ground is different: pro-freedom demonstrations in the area and poll boycott.
“Pro-freedom sentiment was very much alive in this town,” said elderly Abdul Aziz. “Today it sort of gushed out.”
The data reveals near hundred percent people in the town even as large-scale detentions were made by police ahead of the polling.
On Wednesday, there were no voters on the streets or inside polling booths to speak to. Heavy number of police, paramilitary forces and Army was deployed in and around the town.
Red flags were hoisted on olive-green Army Gypsies outside the main polling station, Government Higher Secondary School, where polling officials were feeling sleepy and had no work to do.
Few officers of police and army were seen discussing the situation outside the polling stations. The officers barred media persons from entering the town, noting that Hajin posed a
“serious security problem” right now and “we can’t guarantee your safety.”
Apart from dominant sentiment of freedom, what boiled the boycott pot here was a “wanton arrest spree” by police.
The boycott was observed in the wake of recent killing of Farhat Ahmad Dar, a 19-year-old youth shot dead by government forces in Naidkhai on March 14 and, in part, because of “atrocities” wrought by police on civilians in the entire area.