Following a strike called by separatist group Hurriyat Conference to boycott polls, shops, schools and offices in parts of Kashmir remained closed on Tuesday.
Kashmir’s sensitive border segment of Baramulla-Kupwara and the Buddhist-dominated Ladakh region is scheduled to go to polls in the final phase of voting on Wednesday.
Separatists contend that the polls legitimise Indian rule in the disputed territory of Kashmir, held partly by India and partly by Pakistan, which separatists want in full.
Hurriyat’s hard faction leader Syed Ali Geelani said that the strike is to register their anger at these elections and they want the right to self-determination.
It should be mentioned that Geelani and other prominent separatists have been placed under house arrest by authorities who say they want to prevent any attempt to incite anti-election violence.
In the view of security for polling, thousands of government troops have been deployed and parts of the main city of Srinagar have been locked down.
“The troops have imposed strict restrictions since early morning and no one is being allowed to leave their houses,” Srinagar resident Reyaz Ahmed said by telephone.
Turnout has been low in Muslim-majority districts of Kashmir that have already voted.
Separatist sentiment runs deep in Kashmir, where most people favour independence from India or a merger with Pakistan.