J-K polls free and fair: US Govt, Media
17 September 2002
The Indian Express
Washington DC: Terming as ''free and fair'' the first phase of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the US has said the polls were conducted in a ''good manner'' and was happy there was no large scale violence. ''The elections were free, there were only one or two incidents but by and large there was no violence, participation was good; the elections were conducted in a good manner and there are no reports of intimidation,'' a US official said. ''We are hopeful,'' he said reflecting American optimism on the peaceful conduct of the next three phases of polls. ''It was really good that the level of participation was good and the elections were conducted in a good manner,'' the official said. Amrican officials said they are waiting for the reports of two US diplomats from the embassy in Delhi who had gone to two different areas of the state. They said the US sees these elections as part of a broader process that begins to address the problems of Kashmir. The American media meanwhile hailed Monday''s polls reflecting the widely held view in the official circles, as the triumph of democracy despite the bullets of Pakistani or Pakistan- backed terrorists.