SRINAGAR – Police in India-held Kashmir on Sunday killed at least six civilians and injured several others during protests in Sri Nagar.
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Freedom movement groups in Kashmir had called for a boycott of by-polls in this Lok Sabha constituency, resulting in heightened security and low voter turnout when the polling began.
Hundreds of protesters stormed a polling station at Pakherpora in Chrar-e-Sharif area of Budgam district and staged strong protests there. Six persons were injured in the firing, of whom two, 20- year-old Mohammad Abbas and 15-year-old Faizaan Ahmad Rather, succumbed to bullet wounds, after police opened fire to disperse the protestors.
In another incident, security forces opened fire to quell a stone-pelting mob in Ratxuna Beerwah area, leaving one Nissar Ahmed dead, the Times of India reported.
At the Daulatpura in Chadoora assembly segment of Budgam district, one person, identified as Shabir Ahmed, was killed in firing by security personnel.
A youth, Adil Farooq, succumbed to multiple pellet injuries in the Magam town. One Aqib Wani was shot dead as police opened fire on a crowd of protestors in the Beerwah area in the afternoon.
Due to the violence, polling saw an abysmally low 5.52 per cent turnout till 1400 hours.
Army was called out to help security forces control a rampaging mob which pelted stones in the Ganderbal district of the Srinagar constituency.
The by-election in Srinagar is being held to fill a vacant seat in the Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of Parliament.
A second by-poll in the state for a separate Lok Sabha seat is set to take place on April 12 in Anantnag. The results of both polls are set to be announced on April 15.
Kashmir has been in a phase of unrest since last year when Indian security forces killed Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
The violence since then, largely in the form of troops firing on civilian crowds with shotguns after protesters throw stones, has left over 100 civilians dead and more than 12,000 civilians and security force personnel wounded.