The Union Home Ministry had advised the Election Commission against conducting bye-elections for the Srinagar and Anantnag seats this month, PTI reported on Monday, a day after violence and a dismal turnout marked the polls in the Jammu and Kashmir capital. Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi had issued a letter right after the polling dates were announced on March 10, saying that the atmosphere in the state was not conducive for elections and asked the poll monitoring body to delay it for a few months. “The Election Commission overruled MHA’s reservations and went ahead. The results are for all to see,” a ministry official told CNN-News18.

The ministry had also alleged that the Election Commission did not consult it before fixing the bye-poll dates, according to PTI. However, the Election Commission reportedly ignored the advice and went ahead with the polling for a Parliamentary seat from Srinagar on Sunday, where at least eight people died and more than 300 people were injured during clashes. between civilians and security forces. The violence continued on Monday when unidentified people set ablaze a school that had been used as a polling station in Shopian’s Padarpora.

The bye-election in Anantnag is due on April 12. The state’s ruling People’s Democratic Party has the authorities concerned to postpone the polling. Meanwhile, separatist groups have called for a two-day shutdown in the state starting Monday. They had earlier called for a boycott of the bye-elections in protest against the turmoil in the state.