Votes were counted on Tuesday in the first local elections in Kashmir since the Indian government’s crackdown last year.
Officials hailed the turnout as a sign that democracy had been restored in Kashmir, but that’s not the feeling on the ground.
The election to choose rural development officials was called suddenly, giving parties only a week to register candidates and prepare.
Many prominent politicians remain in detention.
India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party, which unleashed 300,000 party workers into the region, won at least three seats and led in several development council races.
A bloc of opposition parties, the Gupkar Alliance, appeared to come in the lead over all, according to preliminary results.
Our reporters visited Kashmir, part of a tightly controlled, rare media trip. They found a climate of fear and uncertainty with the pandemic hitting just as the security clampdown eased.
“We’d never want B.J.P. to be in power in Kashmir,” said Kulsoom Chopan, 21, who warmed her hands over a wicker fire pot while waiting to vote.
Courtesy – NYT