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Election

Srinagar bypoll: 8 killed, several injured as securitymen fire on mobs

Almost 70 per cent of the polling booths in Budgam district were abandoned by the polling staff due to the spate of violent protests in several areas, officials said.

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rinagar, Apr 9 : Eight people were killed in firing by security forces as unprecedented election-day violence marred the by-poll for Srinagar Lok Sabha seat today which saw the voter turnout plunge to an all-time low of 7.14 per cent.

Rampaging mobs took to streets in scores of places across the Lok Sabha constituency straddling Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal districts, perpetrating wanton violence and arson, even setting ablaze a polling station and attempting to set on fire two others, amid a boycott called by the separatists.

“The tentative voter turnout for the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency is 6.5 per cent,” Jammu and Kashmir s Chief Electoral Officer Shantmanu told reporters at the conclusion of polling. However, the revised figure issued later in the evening put the voter turnout at 7.14 per cent of the 12.61 lakh electorate.

The seat had recorded 26 per cent polling in the 2014 general elections.

In the 1989 election, National Conference s Mohammad Shafi Bhat had won the seat uncontested.

The previous lowest turnout in the prestigious seat was 11.93 per cent in 1999 when Omar Abdullah had defeated Mehbooba Mufti in a straight contest.

The state’s former chief minister and National Conference stalwart Farooq Abdullah, who had lost the seat in the 2014 election, is locked in a straight fight with ruling PDP s Nazir Ahmad Khan even though there are seven other candidates in the fray.

“There were more than 200 incidents of violence in the constituency, mostly in Budgam district, which included stone-pelting, petrol bomb attacks, setting ablaze of a polling station, some vehicles and attempt to burn two other polling stations,” Shantmanu said.

“It was not a good day as you know. Six lives were lost in these incidents of violence… 17 civilians were injured, while over 100 paramilitary and police personnel also sustained injuries,” he said.

Shortly thereafter, 17-year-old Amir Manzoor was killed when security personnel fired at a stone-pelting mob in Chadoora area of the constituency, taking the death toll to seven.

The CEO said a decision on repoll in violence-hit areas will be taken after examining the diaries of presiding officers.

“I cannot tell you exactly how many polling stations will go to repolls…it can be anywhere between 50 and 100. It is a wild guess,” he said.

While two people each were killed Pakherpora in Chrar-e- Sharief and Beerwah areas of Budgam district, two more deaths were reported from Chadoora area of the same district and another in Magam town, which is known as the gateway to Gulmarg.

Almost 70 per cent of the polling booths in Budgam district were abandoned by the polling staff due to the spate of violent protests in several areas, officials said.

Army was called out to help security forces quell a rampaging mob which threw stones and hurled petrol bombs to set a polling booth ablaze in the Ganderbal district of the constituency.

Hundreds of protestors stormed a polling station at Pakherpora in Chrar-e-Sharief area of Budgam district and ransacked a building housing a polling booth, officials said, adding the security forces fired several warning rounds to disperse the mob, which did not relent.

Six persons were injured in the firing, of whom two, 20- year-old Mohammad Abbas and 15-year-old Faizaan Ahmad Rather, succumbed to bullet wounds.

In another incident, security forces opened fire to quell a stone-pelting mob in Ratxuna Beerwah area, leaving one Nissar Ahmed dead. At the Daulatpura in Chadoora assembly segment of Budgam district, one person, identified as Shabir Ahmed, was killed in firing by security personnel.

A youth, Adil Farooq, succumbed to multiple pellet injuries in the Magam town, about 20 kms from here. One Aqib Wani was shot dead as police opened fire on a crowd of protestors in the Beerwah area in the afternoon.

National Conference working president Omar Abdullah said in his 20 year political career he had never seen such a bad enviroment for elections.

“I am talking about having fought my first election in 1998 at the peak of militancy. Even then the enviroment for campaigning and voting was not as bad as it is today. That may itself tell you just how mismanaged this state is under Mehbooba Mufti,” he said.

“Have contested six elections over 20 years and have never seen his kind of violence in elections in Kashmir.

“5PM- polling booths close for an election that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons,” Omar tweeted.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed distress over the civilian killings, saying she was pained that most of them were teenagers who were yet to understand the intricacies of the issues.

“I am distressed to know that many of those killed were young or teenagers who were yet to understand the intricacies of the issues,” Mehbooba said in an official statement..

The Chief Minister said she has consistently held that peaceful means and not violence are the only way ahead in getting state out of the present difficulties.

Meanwhile, separatists have called for a two-day shutdown against the killing of civilians in firing by security forces, saying it was the only way for them to express solidarity with the families of those killed and the cause for which they laid down their lives.

“We know hartal would not affect government policy towards us but it is the only option to express our collective grief,” separatist leaders Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mohammad Yasin Malik said in a joint statement.

Election

Voting for Tripura Assembly elections begin, 11% voters turnout till 9 am

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People after casting their votes (Photo-ANI)

Agartala, Feb 18: 11 percent voter turn out to vote in Tripura assembly election till 9am, ANI reported. 

Tripura CM Manik Sarkar casted his vote at a polling booth in Agartala, he is an MLA from Dhanpur constituency.

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Voting for the Assembly elections in India’s northeastern state of Tripura began on Sunday morning amidst tight security, official said.

“Men and women in large numbers queued up in front of many polling stations well before polling opened at 7 a.m. in the entire state. Polling ends at 4 p.m.,” said Sriram Taranikanti, the Chief Electoral Officer.

In all, 2,536,589 people, including 1,250,128 women and 47,803 first-time voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 292 candidates, including 23 women and many independents.

“Apprehending troubles by some tribal outfit, a record 50,000 para-military and other state security personnel have been deployed while two air surveillance team led by senior officials are conducting surveillance by helicopters,” the election official.

With inputs from IANS

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Election

Lok Sabha By-Polls: Congress announces candidates for Gorakhpur, Phulpur seats

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Lucknow, Feb 17: The state Congress on Friday announced faces for Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats, where by-elections are scheduled to be held on March 11.

The party named Dr Surheeta Chatterjee Kareem, a gynaecologist, as its candidate from Gorakhpur, while it chose Manish Mishra, son of former IAS officer J N Mishra, for the Phulpur seat.

Congress state president Raj Babbar confirmed the candidature of both nominees.

The by-elections in Uttar Pradesh were necessitated after Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath became the Chief Minister, while Phulpur MP Kehsav Prasad Maurya was appointed the Deputy Chief Minister.

Congress state president Raj Babbar confirmed the candidature of both nominees.

WeForNews 

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America

US intelligence chiefs say Russia still meddling, threatening 2018 elections

In strong language, Coats said Russia President Vladimir Putin has been emboldened by Russia’s successful interference in the 2016 elections and is targeting the 2018 election cycle.

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Dan Coats

WASHINGTON — Russia and other adversaries will continue to engage in cyber warfare to “degrade our democratic values and weaken our alliances,” the nation’s top intelligence official said Tuesday.

“Frankly, the United States is under attack,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee, adding that every facet of society is being targeted with cyber intrusions.

In strong language, Coats said Russia President Vladimir Putin has been emboldened by Russia’s successful interference in the 2016 elections and is targeting the 2018 election cycle.

“There should be no doubt that (Putin) views the past effort as successful,” Coats said.

The national intelligence director’s comments come against the backdrop of continuing congressional and criminal investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and whether the Kremlin coordinated their activities with President Trump’s campaign.

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