By Ovais Gull
Srinagar: As the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency went for polling today, Ghulam Nabi Khatana of Faqeer Gujri in Srinagar outskirts was also in the queue to cast his vote.
Ghulam Nabi wearing green cap, blue jacket with white beard is casting his vote since 1962. This man has never missed voting since then.
In a queue, Khatana was discussing the issues confronting to their area. But this time, casting ballots was not aimed to seek development but a change to safeguard the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and to put an end to the atrocities that according to him were all time high from last five years.
“We are not against any political party but today’s voting is aimed to safeguard the special status of the State,” he told INS, adding that “we (Faqeer Gujree) residents were never betrayed by the representative we have voted for.”
Praising National Conference (NC) patron and party candidate for Srinagar Lok Sabha polls for ‘doing fine job’ towards the area, Khatana said, “Most of the people in Faqeer Gujri support NC as they have done a commendable job. Every development in this area was carried out by NC leaders.”
However, Khatana said they are not voting this time to seek any development here but want to put an end to the atrocities Kashmir has witnessed in last five years, adding that “atrocities committed on Kashmiris in last five years are all time high. Therefore, we are out to cast the ballots to ensure such atrocities are stopped forthwith.”
Many others in a queue echoed similar views over casting the ballots. “We want a change as the people of Kashmir can no more bear the atrocities committed in last five years. It is a time to ensure a change on the ground,” they said.
They added boycotting the polls will no way help the people to safeguard the special status or to put an end to the atrocities. “We can’t force anyone to cast vote or to boycott elections but this time, we believe exercising the franchise was must,” he said.
Besides regular voters, many of the first time voters especially girls were also seen in the queue. However, there was no reason for them to cast the ballots.
“Yes, I am going to vote for the first time in my life. I don’t know why I am voting but my mother will tell me which button I have to press to exercise the franchise,” a young girl waiting in the queue said.