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Voters targeted in Kashmir, Geelani appeals for calm

By Ians English
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Srinagar, May 9: Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani on Friday appealed for calm in north Kashmir after youths attacked those who voted during Wednesday's Lok Sabha elections.

Those who voted and those who did not during the elections are all brothers, Geelani said in a statement on video sharing site Youtube.

"That phase is over. I have heard disturbing reports of shopkeepers belonging to Sopore being told to wind-up their businesses in Handwara (Kupwara) town and similar threats to shopkeepers belonging to Kupwara residents who have businesses in Baramulla town.

"This is unfortunate. Youth should not have behaved the way I am hearing they had in Baramulla and Sopore yesterday (Thursday). Fighting among ourselves on issues of who voted or who did not would only help the designs of those who oppose our struggle for freedom," Geelani said.

Passengers coming to the Kashmir Valley's Sopore and Baramulla towns from the neighbouring Kupwara district on were forced to de-board by the youths, who checked their index fingers to find out if they had voted during Wednesday's elections for Baramulla constituency.

Youths thrashed those with ink mark and tore off their clothes. Even vehicles ferrying them into Sopore and Baramulla towns were damaged.

A senior police officer said First Information Reports (FIRs) have been lodged against youths for violence and vulgarity.

IANS

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