Srinagar: Normal life was affected in poll-bound areas of Kashmir Valley Tuesday due to a strike called by separatists against the conduct of urban local body polls in the state.
Shops, fuel stations and other business establishments were shut in poll-bound areas of Ganderbal and Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.
They said public transport was off the roads in these areas even as few private cars, cabs and auto-rickshaws were seen plying.
The government has also declared a holiday in poll-bound areas.
The officials said life was normal elsewhere in the valley.
The separatists – Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), had asked people living in the areas where voting was underway Tuesday to observe strike.
Meanwhile, authorities have reduced mobile Internet speeds across the valley as a precautionary measure.
Polling began at 6 am amidst stringent security arrangements at 308 polling stations in the twin districts of Srinagar and Ganderbal and would end at 4 pm.
Eight municipal bodies spanning across six districts – all in Kashmir valley — were scheduled to go to polls in this phase of the elections.
However, out of the eight, only two bodies are witnessing voting, while there is no contest in the rest of the six bodies.
In Srinagar Municipal Corporation, only 3,997 of the 2.42 lakh voters cast their votes in 24 wards so far, the officials said.
They said the turnout was better in Ganderbal where 6.2 per cent of the 8,908 voters exercised their franchise during the same period.
Polling began at 6 am amidst stringent security arrangements at 308 polling stations in the twin districts of Srinagar and Ganderbal. It would end at 4 pm.
In these six civic bodies — Pattan in Baramulla district of north Kashmir, Pampore, Pulwama and Khrew in Pulwama district in south, Shopian Municipal Committee in Shopian district in south and Dooru Verinag in Anantnag district also in south Kashmir — no voting was needed as the candidates either won unopposed or no nominations were submitted.
Continuing the trend of low voter turnout, only 1.8 per cent of electorate cast their votes in the first four hours of polling in Kashmir during the fourth and final phase of the elections.
The voter turnout in the first two phases of the civic polls in the valley has been low. The first phase of the polls in the Kashmir Valley saw 8.3 per cent turnout on October 8 while only 3.4 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise in the second phase held two days later.
A total of 3.49 per cent voter turnout was recorded on October 13 in the third phase of the urban local body polls in militancy-hit Kashmir Valley, while a high turnout of 82 per cent was recorded in Jammu’s Samba district on Saturday. Unlike previous two phases, the third phase didn’t witness any major incident of violence anywhere.
The results will be declared on October 20.