From Zero To Record: South Kashmir Villages End Election Boycott

(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer) Anantnag- In a remarkable turnaround, numerous villages across south Kashmir saw a significant increase in voter participation, marking a shift from zero percent voting to a substantial turnout.

According to details, several villages in south Kashmir, which have a history of boycotting elections, broke the trend and voted in large numbers. These villages include Heff in the Shopian district, Mehand and Arwani in the Anantnag district, and Bugam, Mohamadpora and other areas in the Kulgam district.


Residents from these areas said that they have endured hardships over the past three to four decades and are seeking change this time.

When asked about the change they desire, many pointed to the plight of hundreds of youths languishing in jails outside Kashmir and expressed a strong desire for their release. They highlighted the issue of numerous youths in nearly every village having criminal cases against them, which hampers their ability to obtain character certificates. They want these FIRs to be dropped.

Mubarak Raina, a resident of Bugam, said they voted for change.“There had been no elections in J&K for several years. Today, people came out to vote happily, with good facilities available at the polling stations,” he said.

Read Also Anantnag Records 53%- Highest Voter Turnout Since 1984 Poll Process For 5 Lok Sabha Seats In J&K Ends

Raina said various issues had previously kept people away from voting, but today they voted for their youth, who have suffered in recent decades.“Bugam, being a central village, has been neglected in terms of development due to its previous lack of participation in the democratic process. Now, we have voted to see development and address issues such as youth employment,” he added.

In Mehand, Heff and Arwani, voters echoed similar sentiments, saying they voted for the first time to resolve youth-related issues. They said unemployment, FIRs against youths and the imprisonment of local residents are the primary concerns they hope to address.

Mohammad Ahsan Dar, a voter from Heff, said they want to live peacefully and have voted for peace, development and youth employment.“There is a need for better healthcare facilities and educational institutions in the area,” he said. People from these villages said they will continue participating in the democratic process to ensure development in their respective areas and to resolve issues affecting the youth.

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