|S Tahir-ul Haq|
Early Times Report
BARAMULLA, Nov 17: Braving harsh cold and militant threats, Kupwara district recorded highest turnout of 71.9%, followed by Bandipora 55.7% and Baramulla 69.1% in the first phase of Panchayat polls today.
The polling percentage at 11 am for Kashmir and Ladakh division stood at 18.5 % with Kupwara registering the highest turnout of 33.6% followed by Handwara at 28% and Srinagar registered 13.7%.
Amid tight security and threat of militancy in various parts of north Kashmir, voting for the first phase of panchayat polls took place peacefully till late evening on Saturday, where as there was reportedly a scuffle between the supporters of Congress and Independent candidate in Nambla of Uri area in Baramulla district.
There was also a boycott call by separatists and threats by militants, but people came enthusiastically and casted their votes in favour of their selected candidates in all polling booths in north Kashmir districts.
Polling was held in six districts of the Kashmir Valley, two in Ladakh and seven districts in the Jammu region.
While separatists have called for a boycott of the polls, militants have threatened to target anyone taking part in these elections.
Polling was held in all 13 places in north Kashmir, including Keran, Ramhal, Tarathpora, Teetwal, and Tangdar in Kupwara district. Gurez, Baktoor, and Tulial in Bandiproa and Kunzer, Uri, Parenpila, Noorkhah, and Kandi Belt Rafiabad in Baramulla district.
However according to sources that hours after the completion of first phase of Panchayat polls in north Kashmir, reportedly the supporters of Congress candidate have attacked the independent candidate whose victory was about to announce.
The supporter of independent candidate got injured and was moved to nearby hospital for advanced treatment, adding police reached the spot to take control of the situations. Meanwhile unknown persons on Saturday evening set ablaze the Panchayat ghar in Nutnousa-B of Reshiwari in Handwara area.
Sources said that panchayat ghar was set on fire by some unknown miscreants after the evening Isha prayers.
We were just coming out of Masjid, we saw the building was set on fire; however police was informed, after which fire tenders rushed to the spot and doused the building, sources told early times.