SRINAGAR: Three civilians were killed in Indian Occupied Kashmir Sunday when paramilitary police opened fire at protesters who stormed polling stations during by-elections in the restive region, a senior election officer said.
Hundreds of protesters charged into voting booths in the Budgam district of the main city Srinagar, prompting police to open fire.
“Violent protests happened at many places in Budgam. Protesters damaged and snatched EVMs (electronic voting machines) at some places,” Shantmanu, the state´s chief electoral officer, told AFP.
In the Charare-e-Sharif area of the city two people were killed when the Border Security Force fired at protesters, said Shantmanu, who uses only one name.
In Srinagar´s Beerwah area paramilitary police opened fire at a stone-throwing crowd, killing another person.
Polling was halted in at least 10 places as clashes broke out between police and protesters following a call by Kashmiri separatist leaders to boycott the by-elections.
Former state chief minister Farooq Abdullah, who is contesting the Srinagar seat, slammed the government for its failure to maintain law and order.
“Elections should have been peaceful. This government has failed in giving a peaceful atmosphere for people to come and vote,” he told reporters.
Police detained hundreds of young people and separatist activists in the run-up to the polls, sources told AFP.