Nasrullahpora village of Budgam Thursday kept date with boycotting polls to the Srinagar parliament seat bringing back memories of the 2017 by-poll for the same seat which had witnessed violent clashes.
Even though the Election Commission of India this time around shifted the polling stations to concrete government buildings in Nasrullahpora but the scenes of deserted polling booths amid heated verbal exchanges between the deployed government forces and locals were reminiscent of the 2017 by-polls.
Nasrullahpora Polling Booth No 27-D set-up in a government school had witnessed just one vote among the 321 registered till 9 am.
However, the polling booth was filled with locals who had not come to cast their vote but to witness stone pelting that had just ended after the Rising Kashmir team arrived on the spot.
Talking to Rising Kashmir, Showkat Ahmad, a 23-year-old man said he had never voted to keep in line with the tradition of his village as “proud boycotters”.
On why he was boycotting polls, he said every leader promises development which never materializes.
“They promise us that our water pipelines will have orange juice but we never even get water,” he said.
On whether he would vote for a candidate who would fulfill the promises he makes, Ahmad said his village had always stood against the atrocities in the Valley.
“So many of our youth are dying? How can we vote?” he said. “Those who cast their votes are free to choose like him.”
After stone pelting, a group of deployed government forces said the situation in the Valley as per them was better than it was in the 1990s.
“These stone throwing youth are just a few lads who are angry,” a deployed government force personnel said.
In the afternoon, the area witnessed violent clashes with the government forces resorting tear gas shelling and pellet firing to curb the stone throwing youth who had blocked the Budgam-Beerwah road.
In 2017 by-polls, at least 14 persons were injured including seven employees of the polling staff when clashes had broken out in Nasrullahpora.
Following violence and attack of the polling booths, the ECI had ordered re-polling along with shifting the Nasrullahpora polling booths to nearby Takipora.
However, the re-poll had also witnessed near total boycott with one person of the total 1088 registered voters casting his vote.