SRINAGAR: The last phase of municipal polls witnessed a sporadic incident of violence in the capital Srinagar even as the polling percentage in Kashmir Valley hovered around single digits so far amid shutdown and fears of militant attacks.

Following the Hurriyat’s strike call, a complete shutdown is being witnessed in the poll-bound areas of the Valley where the authorities have suspended high-speed mobile internet and additional forces are deployed to prevent any law and order disturbance.

Till 2 pm, according to an official handout, only three percent registered voters had exercised their franchise in Srinagar while 9.2 percent votes were polled in Ganderbal district of the Valley.

“Keeping in line with the trend witnessed in the first three phases of elections, the last phase too has failed to evoke any enthusiasm among the voters,” a senior official in the state’s election commission, said.

In Srinagar’s Soura locality, agitated youth, amid anti-India and pro-freedom slogans, took to streets today morning and fought ding-dong battles with security forces deployed for conducting the elections.

“Forces responded by firing teargas shells and chasing away the protesters. There are no reports of any injury or damage to public property so far. However, clashes are going on in the area,” sources said.

Eight municipal bodies across Shopian, Anantnag, Pulwama, Baramulla, Srinagar and Ganderbal districts of the Valley are going to polls in the fourth and final leg of the municipal polls which will conclude today amid unprecedented security arrangements and grave militant threats.

“131 candidates were in fray for 36 wards of Srinagar and Ganderbal districts today while in the rest of the districts, the candidates were elected either unopposed or no nomination papers were filed,” chief electoral officer, Shaleen Kabra said.

The credibility of the municipal polls has been hit due to abysmal participation of people and boycott by National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party, the two main regional parties of Kashmir Valley.

The first phase of municipal elections recorded a low voting percentage of 8.3 percent which dipped further to 3.4 percent in second phase. In third phase, only 3.49 percent votes were polled in Kashmir Valley while officials expect the voting percentage to remain in single digits in the last phase too.

(All Photographs by Muneeb-ul-Islam)