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Last phase of polling in J&K begins

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
December 24, 2008 09:45 IST
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Polling in the eight constituencies of summer capital Srinagar and 13 in the Jammu and Samba districts began on Wednesday morning under heavy security.

Why J&K will remember the 2008 polls

Polling in Srinagar began on low key but authorities say it will pick up later in the day. 

There are 16,91,797 voters in the 21 constituencies in the three districts voting on Wednesday. A total of 1872 polling stations have been set up for the seventh and the last phase of the polling.

The separatists, who have called for a poll boycott, have asked the people to march to the historic city centre, Lal Chowk, for a protest sit-in. The spot has been surrounded by the police and Central Reserve Police Force since early morning.

The state administration has made tight security arrangements deploying thousands of police and CRPF troopers in all the eight constituencies. It also imposed strict curfew-like restrictions in the entire summer capital on Tuesday to scuttle the separatist anti-poll protests.

An official statement issued in Srinagar said, 'In order to maintain law and order and avoiding any breach of peace and public tranquillity, inter-district as well as inter-constituency movement shall remain restricted except for bonafide electors, contesting candidates, authorized polling agents, polling staff and medical emergencies. The persons having security cover are also requested to move only for casting their votes.'

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar