Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) is observing a complete shutdown on Monday after calls from the region’s joint resistance leadership to protest local government polls, reported Radio Pakistan.
The shutdown was called by Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik and was supported by other organisations including the High Court Bar Association.
The first of the four-phase local polls are being held on Monday while the remaining phases will be held on October 10, 13 and 16.
Strict curfew-like restrictions have been imposed by Indian occupational forces. According to Indian daily The Hindu, 40,000 additional security personnel have been deployed in Kulgam, Anantnag, Budgam, Baramulla, Bandipora and Kupwara areas, where the first phase of the polls is underway. The aforementioned towns are already heavily militarised by Indian forces.
Senior Hurriyet leadership and activists have also been detained or placed under house arrest by occupational forces.
In a statement, Farooq said the “election is a drama”. “A massive crackdown has been launched on our supporters to thrust the so-called polls on people who have already rejected this military exercise.”
Sources have claimed that no public campaign was carried out by any of the eight candidates, details of whom are kept anonymous by the authorities for security reasons.
Various Sikh bodies including Sikh Intellectuals Circle, International Sikh Federation and Sikh Students Federation have also boycotted the elections.