1st Phase recorded 57.31% voter turnout, 12 yr old boy killed in forces firing in Handwara

A total of 57.31 percent voter turnout was recorded across Jammu and Kashmir in the first phase of LokSabha elections on Thursday, chief electoral officer Shailendra Kumar said.

“For the Jammu-Poonch seat, 72.16 percent voters exercised their democratic right to vote, while 34.61 percent voters cast their vote in the Baramulla seat,” Kumar said, addressing a press conference here.

“Till last report came in and since we haven’t seen Form 17-C yet, the total voting percentage for Jammu constituency was 72.16 while it stood at 34.61 for Baramulla seat. After examining Form 17-C, we would be able to provide the exact figures. But this figure will be very close to the final percentage,” he said.

Polling was held in four districts in the Jammu-PoonchLokSabha seat.
“74.5 percent votes were polled in Jammu district, 75.74 percent in Samba, 65.73 percent in Rajouri and 70.42 percent in Poonch,” Kumar said.

For the Baramulla seat, polling was held in three districts, including Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora.
“51.7 percent people cast their vote in Kupwara district, 24 percent in Baramulla and 31.8 percent in Bandipora,” he said.

Providing details about Kashmiri migrant voters, the CEO said: “4098 Form-M were issued and of these, 54 percent migrants cast their vote”.
Replying to an allegation of EVM rigging in Poonch district, the CEO said: “As soon as we received the complaint, we replaced all EVMs, VVPATs and other allied machinery. After that, we did not receive any complaint and the polling went on normally”.

Replying to another question about some people from Narwal alleging that their names had been “removed from the voter list without their consent”, Kumar said: “Voter names are only deleted if someone files an application for deletion of the same or if a similar entry (name, photograph and address) is found. People should check if their names are registered in a different polling constituency or station. If anyone has an issue, he should come to me with details and facts”.

About an altercation between security forces with the people in Poonch during the course of polling, inspector general of police, Jammu, M K Sinha—who accompanied Kumar—said, “We received information about the altercation, but the matter was resolved. It was a minor incident. No formal complaint was lodged with the police regarding it.”

Pertinently, during the first phase of parliamentary polls, voting took place in two out of six constituencies, including Jammu-Poonch seat in Jammu division and Baramulla seat in Kashmir division.
“Both the constituencies were of general category and not reserved. The total number of voters was 33,17,882, among which 16,00,897 were women,” the CEO said.

He said the polling was “very peaceful” in Jammu as well as in Kashmir division.
“It was incident-free polling and we congratulate all political leaders, parties, voters, officials, police and paramilitary forces for smooth conduct of elections on Thursday,” he said.
4489 polling stations had been set up in the two constituencies, excluding 21 stations for migrants, the CEO said.
“Among these stations, webcasting was done at 484,” he said.
Kumar was also flanked by divisional commissioner, Jammu, Sanjeev Vera and district election officer, Jammu, Ramesh Kumar.

The CEO said there were 33 candidates in fray for the two constituencies, including 24 for Jammu-Poonch and nine for Baramulla seat. He said the polling was held under the supervision of 12 general observers, eight expenditure observers and seven police observers.

462 micro-observers, 7692 staff was deployed across 4489 polling stations in the two constituencies on the poll day, he said.

A 12-year-old boy was killed in forces’ firing on protestors during clashes near Madigam village of Handwara in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Thursday.

The deceased youth was identified as Ovais Ahmad Mir, 12, son of Mushtaq Ahmad Mir of Mandigam village.
The clashes erupted between youth and forces at Mandigam after forces, who were deployed at a local government high school for election duty, were withdrawing from the area.

The youth pelted stones on the forces, who retaliated by firing pellets, a cartridge of which hit Ovais, causing grievous injuries to him.
He was taken to Sub-district Hospital at Kralgund, where from he was referred to District Hospital Handwara.
However, doctors at DH hospital Handwara declared Ovais as brought dead.

“He had suffered multiple pellet injuries, including on skull, chest, neck and abdomen,” said medical superintendent DH Handwara, Dr. Rouf.
He said Ovais was most probably hit with pellets from a close range. 
Ovais, a 7th standard student at a local school, was youngest among five siblings. His father is a labourer by profession, and mother a house wife.
His cousin, Mudasir Ahmad, said Ovais had never resorted to stone pelting.

“The forces were withdrawing when they fired at him. Some locals informed his family informed about the incident. The family is left devastated by his killing,” said Ahmad. 
A pall of gloom descended the village as shrieks of family members and relatives rented the air when body of boy was brought to his home.
People in large numbers assembled at his house and chanted pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.

Mandigam, a secluded village is located just two kilometres away from Baramulla-Handwara highway and falls under Kupwara district which went to polls along with Baramulla, and Bandipora districts in the first phase today.

Meanwhile, normal life remained disrupted in Kashmir due to strike called by Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) to protest against Lok Sabha polls.

Shops, business establishments and educational institutions remained closed while attendance in government and private offices was thin in Srinagar and other parts of the valley.
The public transport was off the roads across the valley.
The clashes broke out between youth and forces at Palhalan village after youth took to streets and threw stones on forces deployment at Tantraypora Mohallah of the village.

The forces lobbed tear smoke shells to quell the stone-pelting youth. A lady was hit by stone during clashes.
The sporadic clashes continued in the village till evening, witnesses said. 
Reports of clashes were also reported from Arampora and Model areas of Sopore.

An official said elaborate security arrangements were put in place for smooth conduct of the polls in the constituency and the poll process was smooth.

He said adequate forces personnel were deployed at all polling stations to maintain law and order and prevent any booth capturing in north Kashmir.

Authorities also suspended mobile internet service in north Kashmir.
An official said decision to suspend mobile internet service was taken as a precautionary measure to prevent rumour mongering. 
Train service between Baramulla and Banihal was also suspended in the valley.