PDP's Anantnag candidate urges Election Commission to defer bypoll

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Time should be given for the situation to calm down and his party is ready to go for fresh elections in Srinagar, he said.

The Chief Election Commissioner reviewed the situation with local administrators through video conference.

Tassaduq Mufti, the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Anantnag Lok Sabha byelections, said on Monday that he wants the bypolls postponed in light of the violence in the state and especially around the constituency.

The commission, in its notification said that it expects the law and order situation in the constituency to improve and become conducive to the holding of free and fair election by 25 May.

During clashes in Budgam district, police initially used tear gas against protesters who were throwing stones, but then opened fire, killing seven people, a senior police official told Reuters.

On Sunday, eight civilians were killed and scores were injured in firing by security forces when protesters tried to attack some polling stations. "You can't force people to vote and can't force them not to vote", said Tassaduq, the brother of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

Former Chief Minister and opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said the PDP leader's comment was a sign of the state government's failure.

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Following the escalation of violence on Sunday, internet services have been suspended in entire Kashmir Valley till Anantnag by-polls on April 12. The decision was apparently made considering the dismal voter turnout in Srinagar Lok Sabha by-elections held on April 9.

"We are anxious about Anantnag polls because it is a more sensitive area", the police official said.

The election in Anantnag was postponed on the recommendations of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). "How can the BJP not see this?" he tweeted.

Security remains tight and the Valley has been turned into a fortress.

Even though, the poll was deferred finally on Monday, deployment of security personnel, continued throughout the day.

Violence was reported from Budgam area in central Kashmir, which is a part of the three districts - Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal - voting in the elections.

A two-day shutdown called by separatists to mourn and protest civilian deaths in security forces' actions during the Srinagar Lok Sabha bypoll has brought life to a standstill in the Valley.

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