Clashes and violence mar polls in Indian Kashmir
SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Violence flared in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Wednesday as millions of Indians voted on the penultimate day of national elections.
An explosion in a polling booth injured a paramilitary soldier, and three other troops were wounded overnight when suspected militants fired at them, according to Kishore Prasad, spokesman of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force.
No voters were injured and few details were available. The previous two polling days in the region were also marred by violence.
Police said scores of protesters also clashed with patrolling soldiers, who used tear gas to disperse the crowd. Anti-India sentiment runs deep in divided Kashmir.
The state election commission said about 20 percent of registered voters had cast their ballots by late afternoon.
Indian Kashmir elects only six members of the 543-member lower house of India’s Parliament, but voting there was staggered over several days due to security concerns.
With 814 million eligible voters, India is voting in phases over six weeks. People in seven states, including parts of the politically crucial states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, voted Wednesday.
One of the key constituencies was Amethi in Uttar Pradesh where Rahul Gandhi — the son of ruling Congress party President Sonia Gandhi and the party’s presumed prime ministerial candidate — is running.
The final day of voting is Monday. Results are to be announced May 16.