M A I N   N E W S

Militants attack booths in J&K
Voter turnout 41.62 pc
Tribune News Service

Jammu, May 10
Refusing to be cowed by election-related terrorist violence, 41.62 per cent electorate today cast its vote in the Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency although militants fired rockets and bullets at 16 places in Doda district during the polling. As per a UNI report, the army was called in. A large number of women came out to cast their votes as a slap on the face of terrorists. Despite the threat of terrorists and separatists to the voters to remain away from the polling booths, particularly in the Doda district and parts of Udhampur, the polling percentage improved by about 2 per cent as compared to the last elections in 1999. A large number of burqa clad women came to cast their votes in a polling booth that was specially set up for women in the heart of Doda.

The polling percentage in the Ladakh constituency was 59.74 per cent.

Polling for the two constituencies of Udhampur and the Ladakh was held today in the fourth and final phase of the election.

People came out in strength to cast their votes particularly in the areas where the terrorists had indulged in violence by exploding grenades and IEDs to scare the electorate.

Thirty eight per cent polling was registered in Doda where the terrorists killed an information officer and wounded about 30 persons by exploding a grenade in the main bazaar yesterday. There were apprehensions of low polling in the area because of the repeated attempts of the terrorists to create scare the people.

As much as 32 per cent of voters turned out in Kishtwar town where the terrorists had been exploding IEDs and firing at people for the past few days. Fourtyone per cent voting was registered at Bhaderwah, another town in Doda district.

The Banihal segment, where the terrorists lobbed a grenade at rally of Mr Lal Singh, Health Minister, a few days ago, registered a polling of 38 per cent. Another terrorist infested area of Gool witnessed 40 per cent polling, although the ultras had pasted posters for the boycott of the elections.

Despite tension in the town, about 10 per cent votes were cast in the first two hours of polling in Doda town and the percentage increased to 22.5 per cent noon.

The Chief Secretary, Mr S.S. Bloeria, said the overall polling percentage for all six constituencies had come to 34.07 against 32.42 of the 1999 elections.

He said there had been 109 election-related incidents of violence since the poll process started in the state.

He said the turn-out this time was better as compared to the last elections.

The DGP, Mr Gopal Sharma, said the militants did not succeed in their attempts to scare away the voters although they fired a rocket at the college in Bhaderwah today where a polling booth was set up.

Mr Sharma said the polling percentage in the four terrorism-affected constituencies in the state was higher this time, but in the non-militancy constituencies of Jammu and Ladakh the polling percentage was lower.

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