Page last updated at 09:17 GMT, Saturday, 13 December 2008

Protester shot as Kashmir votes


One dead in Kashmir poll protests

By Altaf Hussain
BBC News, Srinagar

Police have opened fire at an anti-election demonstration in Indian-administered Kashmir, killing at least one person and wounding two others.

Hundreds of people took to the streets in Pulwama district, where polling is being held in the fifth phase of elections for the state assembly.

The protesters chanted slogans against Indian rule. There were also clashes in the village of Karimabad.

The poll is being seen as a stern test for Indian rule in the disputed region.

I was in the village when police opened fire to break up the demonstration.

It seemed they were firing over the heads of protesters, but now police have told me that one person has died and two have been admitted to a hospital in Srinagar with bullet injuries.

Polling station in Pulwama
Some polling stations did brisk business despite the boycott

In recent months there have been huge pro-independence demonstrations in Kashmir which were met with force by the security forces, leaving many dead.

Dozens of separatist leaders have been detained to try to prevent them from orchestrating protests against the poll.

The turnout has been moderate at some polling booths and brisk at some others.

However, polling has been by and large peaceful. The turnout has been low to moderate in the first few hours.

Voting is being held in seven phrases, lasting over five weeks until 24 December. Counting of votes will take place on 28 December.

Separatists have been calling for a boycott of the poll and demanded a plebiscite to decide the future of the state.


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