Polls have closed in Kashmir's main city of Srinagar, bringing an end to voting in state elections in the disputed region following clashes between police and protesters that injured at least 15 people. Statewide results are expected on Sunday.
The lead-up to the vote had been overshadowed by heightened tension between
Police responded with batons and teargas.
"Overall the voting was peaceful and the turnout is considerably higher than in 2002 elections," said Kulbushan Jandail, the
Officials said after polls closed there had been a 20 percent voter turnout in Muslim-majority
Statewide results are expected on Sunday for the poll, the third vote in the state since an insurgency began in 1989.
In the past, separatists have killed candidates and party workers, vandalised polling stations and attacked rallies, but this year's poll was relatively trouble-free.
Around 800 people were killed during the 2002 campaign.
Indian police said on Tuesday they had arrested three militants, one of them a Pakistani soldier, for allegedly planning a suicide attack during the vote but
Kashmiri separatists, many of them in jail, called for a boycott of the seven-stage election, saying
Many polling stations in
A high turnout in the previous six rounds of the election, which began on Nov. 17, has encouraged Indian authorities despite the scattered clashes between separatists and government forces.
"I am voting for better government," 30-year-old hotelier Imtiyaz Ahmad said before entering a polling booth.
"The government will give us security, better administration. The freedom (of
Nearly 1.7 million voters were eligible to cast their votes in the last phase. At least 393 candidates contested elections for 87 assembly seats across the state, with 21 in total up for grabs in
The arrest of the three militants on Tuesday came as nuclear-armed rivals
Overall violence has fallen significantly across Kashmir since
Officials say more than 47,000 people have been killed in nearly two decades of violence involving Indian troops and Islamist militants in Kashmir, which was hit by massive anti-India protests earlier this year.
Date created : 2008-12-25