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Separatists' strike impact life in poll-bound areas

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Srinagar, Oct 13: Shops and business establishments remained closed in poll-bound areas of Kashmir valley Saturday due to strike called by separatists against the conduct of the third phase of the four-phased municipal elections in the state.

The government had also declared a holiday in the poll-bound areas so as to enable the voters to cast their vote.

While shops, fuel stations and other business establishments were shut in the poll-bound areas of the Valley including in some areas of Srinagar city, authorities had also sealed entry and exit points to many of these areas.

The shops were also closed in the city centre Lal chowk and adjoining Budshah Chowk.

While the public transport was off roads in the poll-bound areas, it plied normally in the rest of the Valley.

The separatists under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) had asked people living in the areas where voting was to take place to observe strike.

"In the poll-bound areas in the third-phase of the sham elections, people will show their complete disconnect and dismissal by staying away and boycotting this drama," a statement by JRL, comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, had said.

Meanwhile, authorities had also reduced the mobile Internet speeds across the Valley as a “precautionary measure”.

Polling began Saturday for the third and penultimate phase of municipal elections in Jammu and Kashmir to seal the fate of 365 candidates in the fray across the state.

The fourth phase on October 16 will be held in six districts of Kashmir Valley.

Municipal elections are being held in four phases, covering 79 municipal bodies with an electorate of about 17 lakh electors. A total of 3,372 nominations have been filed for 1145 wards.

The counting of votes will be held on October 20.

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