Grenade attack in Kashmir polls
24 April 2006
London: Four people, including three policemen, have been injured in a grenade attack on a polling station in Indian-controlled Kashmir, police say. Police blamed suspected militants for the attack in Pattan. But locals said supporters of a candidate standing in state by-elections were behind it. A few hours later, nine voters were injured in another grenade attack at a polling booth in Sangrama constituency. Four constituencies held by-elections. Turn-out was described as moderate. The Pattan attack came three hours after voting began. Locals handed over to police those they say carried it out. Long queues Security was tight at the 264 polling stations in the Kashmir valley where the by-elections took place. Some 300,000 voters were expected to cast their ballots for four seats in the 81- seat state legislature. The BBC's Altaf Hussain in the state's summer capital, Srinagar, says long queues of voters were seen outside the polling stations. A tough contest is expected between an alliance partner in the state's governing coalition and the main opposition National Conference party. Congress party chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad is among the candidates. No violence has been reported during campaigning over the last three weeks, in contrast to previous votes in the state. More than 60,000 people have been killed since 1989, when an armed separatist insurgency began in Indian-administered Kashmir.