April 24, 2014
Chaitra Krushna Paksha Dashami, Kaliyug Varsha 5116
Thousands of displaced Kashmiri Pandits residing in Jagti township here today held protests after they failed to cast vote for the Anantnag constituency as their names were not present in the voters list. Over 2,000 Kashmiri Pandits paraded on the streets of the township, home to nearly 5,000 displaced members of the community, shouting slogans against the state government and Election Commission. “We have been deprived of the right to vote under a conspiracy from the state government and election authorities,” said a member of the state government’s Apex Committee on KP Migrants, Roshan Lal Raina.
Raina demanded re-polling at the Jagti booth, which has been set up for around 8,000 voters belonging to the Kashmiri Pandit community. “We demand re-polling. Huge campaigns were undertaken to register more voters, but in our case, despite completing all formalities of filling ‘M form’, voting right was denied to us,” Raina said. Santosh Devi, who migrated to Jammu from Kulgam belt, said, “My name is there in the voting list, but decided not to vote to protest denial of voting right to other community members of the constituency here,” she said.
Similar protest was held at the Muthi migrant camp in Jammu. “When I along with scores of people went to vote at the polling station at Director of School Education in Jammu, we were told that our names are not there in the list of voters,” said one of the protesters, Vitasta who hails from Ashmuji village in Kulgam district. “Despite filling forms for photo I-D cards and ‘M-forms’ that make us eligible for voting, we were deprived of the right,” Vitasta said.
A total of 115 votes were polled at two polling stations at Jagti and 23 at the Muthi polling station till afternoon. According to the Election Commission, of the total 13,01,142 voters registered for the Anantnag seat, 27,235 are Kashmiri Pandits (KP). The highest number of 17,304 KP voters are registered in Anantnag district followed by 4,793 in Kulgam district, 3,837 in Shopian district and 1,301 in Pulawam district.
As per a notification of the Election Commission, 18 special polling station has been set up for KP migrant voters in Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi. While Jammu has the largest number of 13 polling stations for KP voters, Delhi has four and there is one in Udhampur.