Local Elections In Indian Kashmir First In 25 Years
29 January 2005
Voice of America
Washington DC: Tens of thousands of people in insurgency-plagued Indian Kashmir voted Saturday in the territory's first local elections in a quarter- century. Witnesses say large numbers of voters turned out despite freezing weather and the threat of rebel attacks. Gunmen killed one candidate and wounded two others Friday, but no violence was reported once voting began. More than 96,000 people were eligible to cast ballots today in two districts bordering the portion of Kashmir administered by Pakistan. Voting for mayors and town council members in other districts will take place during the next two weeks. Militants who want to drive India out of Kashmir called for a boycott of the election, which they contend is an attempt by New Delhi to show that Kashmir is a legitimate part of India.