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Rajouri-Poonch to ignore poll boycott call

Anil Bhatt in Bafliaz, Surankote | November 13, 2008 15:29 IST

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Mountain dwellers in the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch are all set to ignore the poll boycott call given by separatists in the Jammu and Kashmir [Images] and cast their ballot in the assembly elections.

People in Bafliaz, once safe sanctuary of the foreign mercenaries and launching pad of local militants, separatists and over ground workers, have rejected the separatists' call of poll boycott and decided to favour balloting to bring permanent and sustainable peace in the state.

"There are no takers of Kashmiri separatists poll boycott call here. Ballots are related to governance by the people and we will take part in it," said 67-year-old Din Mohammad Khan, who lost his two sons in a gunbattle with security forces in Hill Kaka [Images] area in 2004.

Din's feelings were echoed by another villager, Zahoor-ud-Din of Salian who witnessed the death of several militants in various encounters.

"We have closed our doors to militants and separatists. We have lost everything, our youth. We want peace to prevail in this land locked Surankote belt. For this, we will vote and not boycott it," Altaf Hussain, who runs a cloth shop in the town, said.

Maintaining that poll boycott call will not serve any purpose, a school teacher at Jarnewali Gali, Anwar Khatana said: "We do not want Governor's rule and will vote for

setting up peoples' government. The Kashmir issue, which separatists say is related to elections, is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and we are the party to it," he said.

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