open view web desk
SRINAGAR, India— The first phase of council elections has begun in Indian-controlled Kashmir amid tight security and a separatist-sponsored shutdown.
Authorities deployed tens of thousands of additional soldiers in the already highly militarized region for the elections that are being held in four phases.
Voter turnout was low Monday morning in Muslim-dominated areas of Kashmir valley.
A curfew was in effect in old parts of the city of Srinagar to prevent anti-India protests.
India says the polls are a vital grass roots exercise to boost development and address civic issues. Political separatist leaders and armed rebel groups who challenge India’s sovereignty over Kashmir have called for a boycott, saying the polls are an illegitimate exercise under military occupation.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and both claim it in its entirety.
Categories: Jammu & Kashmir