Remote Zanskar that represents the oldest surviving Buddhist culture today boycotted elections for the twin seats legislative assembly seats. Of more than 90 votes, only three were polled. While three votes were polled in Lungnak block, not a single Pnach or Sarpanch came to vote in Zansakr.
“We boycotted in protest against the high-handedness of the tehsildar Zanskar Nasir Ahmad,” one of the boycotting panchs told Kashmir Life on phone. “The officer is also misguiding the newly appointed SDM.”
A statement issued by two Sarpanchs Tsering Namgyal and Tsering Halwang for and on behalf of all the Panchs and Sarpanchs of the Zanskar belt said the officer ordered mass marshalling of the people who were protesting against a blasphemous act of some police officer on November 27. They said the officer was instrumental in discouraging the voters from coming to vote because he denied them audience for a vital meeting and also imposed section 144 when the panchs and sarpanchs were supposed to meet for a meeting to discuss the polls.
“We demand the officers immediate transfer from Zanskar because he is responsible for misleading the police and other officers in the civil administration,” an engineer Punchok Tashi said.
A police officer not aware of that Buddhists abhor fishing had gone hunting to a neighbouring lake. It was immediately detected by the locals who came out in protest against the passion of a Hindu police officer from Jammu.
The Buddhist majority boycotted polling on this very incident. There were 68 votes in one block and another 22 in another but not many people came to vote, reports said.
In another interesting development reports said a section of the voters in Leh and Kargil districts have polled only one vote and abstained from exercising another vote. Every panch and sarpanch had two votes – for two contestants. In Leh, it is reported that voters have voted for Congress and boycotted NC. It was this trend that was witnessed in reversal in Kargil. The exact count of this trend was not immediately known.
Zanskar witnessed turmoil this summer over conversion issue. When around 22 members from various low caste Buddhist families converted to Islam, it triggered a severe law and order problem forcing authorities to implement curfew restrictions. Eventually the crisis subsided after the local civilian officer was shifted out.
Votes from Ladakh are vital to the overall elections for the two Kashmir berths. It is expected to offer the winning margin to the four contestants of ruling coalition and the PDP. The two sides have witnessed a close contest in Kashmir, trends emanating from various districts suggest.