Undeterred by militants' threats and the boycott call given by the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference, an estimated 44 per cent of the electorate in 23 constituencies voted in the first phase of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly election on Monday,
While polling was higher in Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu region, it was markedly lower in Kupwara and Baramulla districts in the Valley, Election Commission officials said in New Delhi.
In Srinagar, Chief Electoral Officer Pramod Jain gave the district wise break up of voting as follows: Baramulla 37 per cent, Kupwara 40 per cent, Kargil 67 per cent, Rajouri 47 per cent and Poonch 48 per cent.
The lowest turnout was recorded in Sopore in Baramulla district, where only 3-5 per cent voting took place.
A Punjab police jawan was killed when militants opened fire at a polling station in a school in Sar village of Poonch district. There were also reports of an 18-year-old boy being killed in a rocket attack at a polling booth in Seri Khwaja in Kupwara district.
Around a dozen people were injured in militant attacks on booths during the nine-hour-long polls that ended at 1600 IST.
Militants also made a desperate bid to disrupt the polls by planting improvised explosive devices at several booths, but most of them were defused before any damage could occur.
A defence spokesman said Pakistani troops resorted to shelling at Indian positions.
Thousands of personnel from the army, paramilitary forces and police fanned out across the state to provide security. Around 40,000 personnel from other states were also deployed.
Polling was held in the five border districts of Baramulla, Kupwara, Poonch, Rajouri and Kargil.
Sixteen diplomats, including from the United States, European Union and Canada, witnessed the polls.
Electronic voting machines were used for the first time in the elections.
Uri in Baramulla district, where Minister for Education Mohammed Shafi was locked in a triangular contest, recorded 47 per cent voting. A low turnout of five per cent was reported in Sopore in the same district where assembly Speaker Abdul Ahad Wakil was seeking re-election, according to reports.
Noushera in Rajouri district reported 45 per cent turnout.
Constituencies in Kargil on an average had a 35 per cent turnout with women coming out in large numbers in some booths reserved for them.
There were reports of National Conference workers allegedly capturing a booth in Mendhar constituency.
With inputs from Basharat Peer in Srinagar
Jammu and Kashmir Elections 2002: The complete coverage
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