Boycott and curbs subdue India's election in disputed Kashmir
Kashmir Updates - Umar Baba - April 23, 2019
At least 86 percent of eligible voters in the Kashmir valley abstained from voting, although in the southern Jammu belt, where Muslims and a sizeable Hindu population doesn’t shy away from casting votes, a 70 percent turnout was recorded.
India-administered Kashmir –– As the morning sun shone over Ganderbal’s mustard fields and sleepy villages, some of the first few residents milling around a polling station in this central Kashmir district included five workers of a pro-India political party – all middle-aged men – and an uneasy 18-year-old.
On April 18, the men sat at the edge of a narrow bridge leading to a small rivulet, some of them puffing cigarettes and sending coils of smoke into the air.
Standing opposite to them a young man, Shahid (he wished not to say his real name), showed TRT World the voter slips of his three family members.
“This is my father’s voter slip, this one my mother’s, and this one brother’s,” he said, displaying the photo identification paper – mandatory to cast vote – before shredding them into several pieces and tossing them into the rivulet.
“What do we have to do with these [voter slips]? We want independence and that’s it… Those who vote are Mukhbir [government spies] and betrayers of Azadi [independence],” he said.