Politics

Four Killed in Security Force Firing During Srinagar Poll Violence

The army was called out to help security forces control a mob which pelted stones and hurled petrol bombs to set a polling booth ablaze.

A jawan stand guard outside a polling station for Srinagar parliamentary constituency of Jammu and Kashmir at Budgam in Srinagar on Sunday. Credit: PTI/S. Irfan

A jawan stand guard outside a polling station for Srinagar parliamentary constituency of Jammu and Kashmir at Budgam in Srinagar on Sunday. Credit: PTI/S. Irfan

Srinagar: At least four persons were killed and several others injured as security forces opened fire on mobs in various parts of the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency today, as violence marred polling which saw an abysmally low 5.52% turnout till 2 pm.

The army was called out to help security forces control a mob which pelted stones and hurled petrol bombs to set a polling booth ablaze in the Ganderbal district of the Srinagar constituency.

Hundreds of protestors stormed a polling station at Pakherpora in Chrar-e-Sharief area of Budgam district and ransacked a building housing a polling booth, officials said, adding the security forces fired several warning rounds to disperse the mob, which did not relent.

Six persons were injured in the firing, of whom two later succumbed to injuries. Those killed were identified as 20-year-old Mohammad Abbas and 15-year-old Faizaan Ahmad Rather, they said, adding both died of bullet wounds.

In another incident, security forces opened fire to quell a stone-pelting mob in Ratxuna Beerwah area, leaving one Nissar Ahmed dead.

The fourth person, identified as Shabir Ahmed, was killed in firing by security personnel at the Daulatpura in Chadoora assembly segment of Budgam district.

The officials said the BSF, deployed for security of the polling stations, fired live rounds as they were not provided with pellet guns.

Security force personnel were forced to abandon two polling stations in Chadoora area as they came under heavy stone-pelting by mobs, the officials said.

Violence also affected polling in some other parts of the Srinagar parliamentary seat as stone pelting incidents were reported from over two dozen other places across the three districts of Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal which constitute the Srinagar constituency, they said.

The voter turnout was very low till 2 pm, with only 5.52% of the 12.61 lakh electorate exercising their franchise, the officials said. Large number of voters in many areas chose to give polling a miss, even in places like Ichgam, Maloora and Budgam which have traditionally seen high turnout.

Opposition National Conference leaders including its president and candidate, Farooq Abdullah, and his son Omar attacked the Mehbooba Mufti-led Jammu and Kashmir government for having completely failed to ensure smooth conduct of the polls.

In Chenar area of Ganderbal district, one Mohammed Ramzan Rather and his wife and other villagers faced the wrath of angry protestors when they were on their way to vote. He was rushed to Kangan district hospital with a bleeding head.

The nearby locality of Wakura was deserted after crowds pelted stones at security forces in the morning, as forces fired several rounds of tear gas shells to disperse the protestors.