Kupwara, couldron of violence, seeks change with ballot

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Kupwara (Jammu and Kashmir), Dec 2: Voters in this border district turned up in large numbers to cast their ballot in the second phase of Jammu and Kashmir assembly polls on Tuesday. Many felt they suffered in the past because they chose not to vote.

A fierce gun battle between infiltrating guerrillas and the security forces began on Tuesday morning on the Line of Control in the district. Yet, men and women lined up at polling stations to vote.

Jammu and Kashmir

The district has borne the brunt of separatist violence for the last 23 years. But on Tuesday, men and women flocked to polling stations to exercise their franchise.

"We have suffered immensely because we chose not to vote. People who owed us no obligation were elected. The result is that ours is the most backward district of the valley," Shakeel Ahmad, 38, told IANS at a polling station.

"We will try someone this time who feels accountable to us," he added.

As men and women waited at two polling stations set up in a local higher secondary school, children played cricket at the school playground.

The first-time voters held their voter slips so that the poll staff identifies them.

Businesses were closed and public transport was of the roads in the town because the poll day is a public holiday, though many residents said the town was closed because a separatists call for a shutdown Tuesday.

But the residents defied a similar separatist call to boycott polls in Kupwara and voted enthusiastically.

IANS

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