March 1998 News

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When ballot is answer to vandalism and militancy

1st march 1998
Indian Express

CHAR-E-SHARIEF:Feb.28 For the people of this holy town, which houses the shrine of 16th-century Sufi saint Noor-ud-in Noorani, ballot is the best answer to militants' guns and their act of vandalism. Ignoring threats by militants and biting cold, a large number of voters of the town turned up at the polling booths even before the morning sun could pierce through the thick fog to cast their ballots for the Lok Sabha seat of Srinagar. With people making a beeline in front of several polling booths, the town witnessed scenes markedly different from Srinagar city where the polling began on a dull note.

The young and old wearing their traditional best and holding "kangris" (fire pots) to keep them warm in near sub-zero temperature, stood patiently in long queues. Many of them said by casting their votes they wanted to give a befitting reply to militants who had set afire the 600-year-old shrine in 1995. A PTI correspondent, who visited parts of Badgam district, which includes Char-E-Sharief and forms part of Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency, saw enthusiasm running high among the electorate many of whom said they were voting this time with high hopes of finding peace and prosperity back to the region, reports PTI.

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