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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Kashmiri Pandits return without voting in Jammu as names missing from rolls

Updated on: 13 May,2024 05:45 PM IST  |  Srinagar
mid-day online correspondent |

Kashmiri Pandits at special polling stations in Jammu were unable to vote during Lok Sabha Elections 2024 despite strong security.

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Kashmiri Pandits return without voting in Jammu as names missing from rolls

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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Kashmiri Pandits return without voting in Jammu as names missing from rolls

Many displaced Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu were disappointed on Monday during the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha elections because their names were not on the electoral rolls, preventing them from voting. Despite having lined up at special polling stations in Jammu under strong security, numerous Kashmiri Pandits were forced to leave without voting during Lok Sabha Elections 2024. 

Veena, a Jagti camp resident and migrant from the former Habbakadal area of Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, expressed frustration, saying, "I came to the polling station with three members of my family to cast our votes despite such heat. We carried our EPIC (Voter ID) cards too. But we found our names missing from the electoral roll. It is a denial of our right to vote. They (EPIC) should be cancelled by ECI. The government wants us to vote but at the same time has a process that denies us the right to exercise our franchise."

Avinash Raina, along with four family members from the former Budgam district of Srinagar LS seat, reported a similar experience, claiming, "We came here to vote. We don't figure in the voting list. What do we do now? Nobody is here to listen to us and resolve the issue."

Kuldeep Kumar and several other voters from his colony had the same issue at a special polling booth in the Talab Tillo Agriculture office. Despite holding voter identification cards, they were denied the ability to vote during fourth phase of Lok Sabha Elections 2024. 

"We found here that over 20 people were barred from voting as their names were absent from the voter list. Despite having EPIC cards, they were denied voting. There should be a probe into it," he said.

Surinder Koul expressed frustration, saying, "We have raised the issue with the poll authorities. People are very angry."

Shadi Lal Pandita, a Congress lawmaker and president of the Jagti Tenement Committee, blasted the administration, saying, "They accuse KPs of not voting, but the ground reality differs. They have voter identity cards but do not appear on the lists. It is a huge injustice.

Dr Riaz Ahmed, Assistant Electoral Returning Officer (AERO) for Migrants, acknowledged the problem, attributing it to outdated data used to create the lists. He added that steps would be taken to rectify the situation and urged poll officials to allow impacted voters to cast votes.

Nearly 52,100 Kashmiri migrants have registered to vote in the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, which has 26 polling booths, the majority of which are located in Jammu. Despite these efforts, many individuals were unable to vote in the Lok Sabha Elections 2024.

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