Curfew-like Situation Ahead Of JK 3rd Phase Of Polls

29 November 2008
The Times of India

Srinagar: A day ahead of third phase of Jammu and Kashmir assembly polls, people are confined to indoors as authorities on Friday imposed an 'undeclared curfew' in the five constituencies of Kupwara district in north Kashmir. A senior police officer said restrictions have been imposed to prevent untoward incidents. Authorities have deployed police and paramilitary forces in these constituencies soon after educational institutions, business establishments and government offices closed on Friday evening. Policemen and CRPF personnel were seen asking people to remain indoors. A police spokesman said the measures have been taken in the wake of poll boycott call given by coordination committee, an amalgam of both factions of the Hurriyat. Coordination committee chairmen Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq are under house arrest. The five assembly segments of Kupwara district - Kupwara, Karnah, Langate, Handwara and Lolab - are going to the polls on November 30 in the third phase of the seven-phase polls in Jammu and Kashmir. Campaigning in these constituencies too ended on Friday. The fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh phase of polls will be held on December 7, 13, 17 and 24 respectively. The results will be declared on December 28. Meanwhile, a National Democratic Party candidate, Barkat Ali, from Kupwara constituency was attacked with two hand grenades on Thursday. However, no injury was reported. Altogether 71 candidates are in the fray and the main contest is between National Conference and People's Democratic Party candidates. In Kupwara constituency, a tough fight is likely between NC candidate Mir Saifullah and independent candidate Shabnam Lone, daughter of prominent separatist leader late Abdul Gani Lone. About four lakh voters will exercise their franchise on Sunday.