Nearly a dozen hurt during violence in Mendhar

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50.98 per cent electors cast vote during last phase of polling in J&K

Jammu, December 19: The maiden District Development Council elections in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday concluded on a violent note as nearly a dozen people including a contesting candidate and her two PSOs were injured in clashes at different places during the 8th phase of poling in Mendhar area of Poonch district.

A Congress candidate Parveen Sarwar Khan and her two PSOs were injured during stone pelting by her opponents at Sakhi Maidan where she had gone for campaigning. Following allegations of irregularities , the UT’s State Election Commission has ordered re-poll there on December 21. The PSOs accompanying the Congress candidate reportedly fired warning shots in the air to disperse stone pelters.

Two people were injured at Shajla when supporters of rival candidates clashed alleging bogus voting. Police intervened and retrieved ballot box from the possession of one group.

A NCSU leader was among five people injured in clash between supporters of PAGD and independent candidate at a polling station in Salwah. The trouble erupted around 1.45 pm, nearly 15 minutes before the culmination of polling at 2 pm. However, the polling continued as police intervened and shifted injured to the hospital.

There were also reports of violence from Kasbalari and Kalaban areas as well, sources said.

Poonch District Panchayat Election Officer Rahul Yadav, however, said that there have been stray incidents of clash at two-three places wherein two to three people sustained minor injuries.

Mendhar in Poonch district has been one of the highly volatile areas across the Union Territory. The UT’s State Election Commission had on Friday ordered re-polling on December 21 in four polling stations for District Development Council’s Mendhar-A and Mendhar-B constituency in border Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhie, the 8th and last phase of DDC elections recorded 50.98 per cent polling across Jammu and Kashmir. In Kashmir, the highest 63.80 per cent polling took place in Kupwara and the lowest 8.50 per cent in Pulwama. Elsewhere, it was 56.56 per cent in Bandipora, Baramulla (44.60), Budgam (35.12),Kulgam (11.20), Anantnag (8.66), Shopian (8.58).

In Jammu, the highest 83.58 per cent polling took place in Poonch and the lowest 60.49 per cent in Udhampur. Elsewhere, Reasi recorded 81.92 per cent polling, followed by Rajouri (77.31), kathua (73.93), Samba (73.65), Kishtwar (73.45), Ramban (73.42), Doda (70.33) and Jammu (69.39).

The maiden DDC elections in Jammu and Kashmir were held in eight phases beginning November 28. The counting of votes will take place on December 22.

The fate of over two dozen former MLAs and MLCs including former ministersom different political parties are among the candidates contesting DDC polls whose fate hangs in the balance.