Several incidents of violence were reported ahead of Sunday’s by-elections in Srinagar constituency in Jammu and Kashmir. An electorate of nearly 12.61 lakh will decide the fate of the seat that fell vacant after Tariq Hameed Karra resigned from the Lok Sabha and the People’s Democratic Party. Internet services were shut down in Srinagar ahead of the by-elections, ANI reported.
A group of protestors tried to set ablaze a school building that was to be used as a polling station. The police had to intervene and stop the mobin Budgam district. On Saturday, a group of youth pelted stones at the polling staff in Beerwah area of the district. The police retaliated against the attacks, however, no one was injured, PTI added.
Security has been heightened and forces have been deployed at more than 1,500 polling stations to ensure there is no disruption on Sunday. All polling stations have been either declared sensitive or hyper-sensitive after threats of boycott from various separatist groups. The Hurriyat Conference has called for a complete boycott of the by-elections, The Indian Express reported.
The Srinagar parliamentary seat is spread over three districts – Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal. In the 2014 general elections, Karra had won the seat defeating former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah.
Karra had resigned from his post protesting against the alleged atrocities by security forces last year in July in the aftermath of the encounter during which Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed. Following his resignation, Karra joined the Congress, but is now campaigning for Abdullah who is contesting for the seat. PDP’s Nazir Ahmad Khan left the Congress for the ruling party in February.