During Parliament elections earlier this year, not a single person turned up to vote in the native village of Muhammad Afzal Guru, who was secretly sent to gallows for his alleged role in abetting an attack on Indian parliament in 2001. But this time, two persons appeared in Ghat Seer Jagir’s polling booth number 89 and cast their votes soon after the voting began early on Tuesday morning.
As the news spread in the village that two votes have been polled here, people especially youth took to roads on large numbers and started enquiring about the persons who according to them ‘dared’ to vote. “We are not going to spare these black sheep. They will face the wrath of the people here,” said an angry youth who refused to provide his mobile number and disclose his name, claiming that security agencies will harass him in case his name surfaces.
Villagers alleged that duo who dared to vote might be working for the security agencies. “We will go house to house to check the indelible ink mark on the hands of the people,” said another angry youth present in yard of Muhammad Afzal Guroo.
Presiding Officer Muhammad Yousuf confirmed that two votes were polled out of 468 votes at polling booth number 89 in native village of Muhammad Afzal Guroo in Seer Jagir Sopore. Not a single polling agent from any political party was present at the polling booth. The polling booth guarded by CRPF personnel was deserted while polling staff was busy in gossip. “We wish the day passes off peacefully,” said an person on election duty.
Tabasum Guroo, the widow of Muhammad Afzal Guroo who preferred to spend her day at her working place told CNS that she was shocked to hear that two persons have cast their vote there. “I am shocked and frustrated and I still don’t believe that two votes have been polled at Seer Jagir Sopore,” she said.
She however added that barring these two votes, the villagers there once again showed that they have not forgotten the supreme sacrifice of Muhammad Afzal Guroo. “He sacrificed his life for the (Kashmiri) nation. This (boycott) is a reminder that we have not forgotten him,” she said.
Tabasum said that every family in Kashmir has sacrificed in one or other and people should set their priorities to “ensure that these sacrifices don’t go waste.”
It’s not that the village of 450-odd voters, barely 3km from the separatist stronghold of Sopore, is used to boycotting elections. Many have voted here in the past but the situation changed after the execution of Muhammad Afzal Guroo. “I used to vote for National Conference every time but I stopped the practice after Afzal was hanged in Tihar,” said Muhammad Abdullah.