In Photos: 8 Deaths, Protests Cast Shadow Over Srinagar Bypolls
The protesters damaged EVMs and prevented voters from exercising franchise in Srinagar bypoll.
Eight people were killed and more than 50 injured on Sunday when security forces clashed with protesters during a by-election in Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.
Separatist factions in Kashmir had called for a boycott of the vote, resulting in heightened security and low voter turnout as the polling began.
In Budgam district, police initially used tear gas against protesters who were throwing stones, but then opened fire, killing eight people, officials told. At least 70 polling stations were shut due to the violence.
"There were more than 200 incidents of violence...which included stone-pelting, petrol bomb attacks, setting ablaze of a polling station," the state's Chief Electoral Officer Shantmanu told reporters.
The "tentative turnout" was 6.5 percent, Shantmanu said, adding that a decision on re-polling in violence-hit areas would be taken later.
The protesters damaged EVMs and prevented voters from exercising franchise in Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary seat bypoll.
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-election in the state for a separate Lok Sabha seat is set to take place on 12 April in Anantnag. The results of both polls are expected to be announced on 15 April.
The by-poll was the first after the 2016 unrest, triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in July last. Over 100 people were killed in five months of the unrest – the worst in six years of the troubled valley.
(Hashim Hakeem is a freelance photojournalist based in Kashmir.)
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