Migrant Pandits protest over missing names in electoral roll

Several migrant Kashmiri Pandits could not exercise their franchise as their names were found missing from the electoral roll at the special polling stations set up for Srinagar constituency in Jammu during the second phase of LokSabha elections on Thursday.

Miffed at it, they raised slogans against the administration and the Election Commission at several polling stations.

“We came to the polling station to cast our vote but found our names missing from the electoral roll. It is a denial of our right to vote,” said RadhaKrishenBhat, a migrant Kashmiri Pandit from the Chadoora segment of Srinagar LokSabha constituency.

Bhat said four members of his family could not vote and alleged that there was a conspiracy to deny the migrants their right.

Similarly, MintooMawa and four of his family members, who hail from Amira Kadal segment, had to return without exercising their franchise.  

“Why have we been denied the right to vote? I had submitted the required Form-M to  Sarwal camp commandant. The Election Commission should order a probe into it,” Mawa said.

Another migrant Kashmiri Pandit, Saroop Chand, who had gone to cast his vote with five of his family members, met the similar fate.

Flaying the authorities, local leader Rajiv Pandit said, ”The Election Commission should automatically transfer votes of all displaced Kashmiri Pandits to the polling stations set up for them in Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi.”

PankajAnand, Assistant Returning Officer (ARO), Migrants, admitted there were problems while preparing the electoral roll.

“There are only a few such cases due to wrong filling of Form-M. Some of these forms did not have names of polling stations. Some names did not match with the records,” he said. He, however, said that of the 4,720 migrant voters, 2,100 voted in the elections.

Meanwhile, long queues were seen at Jagti, Muthi, Udhywala and TalabTilloo polling stations. As many as 21 polling stations were set up for the voters.

The migrants, who exercised their franchise, urged the government to make efforts for their rehabilitation in the Valley besides ensuring dignity and security for them.

“We have seen promises regarding our return to the Valley on paper only. We urge Prime Minister NarendraModi to fulfil his promise made during the 2014 LokSabha elections,” VishaliPandita, a 26-year-old migrant Kashmiri Pandit, said.  

Like her, Naveen Bhat, who came all the way from New Delhi to vote in the elections, hoped there will be improvement in employment opportunities in Jammu and Kashmir.