ATTACKERS checked the index fingers of passersby for the indelible ink marked at the time of voting

Srinagar : People who defied the separatists call to boycott the Lok Sabha polls in Jammu & Kashmir were thrashed and stripped by youth in twin towns of Baramulla district by a group of youth on Friday, an action criticized by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

A police spokesman said the miscreants involved in the acts of violence have been identified and special teams formed to arrest them. Five cases were registered by police –three in Baramulla and two in Sopore, he added.

Officials said that some voters were thrashed on Thursday in Sopore and Baramulla towns by groups of youths, who were checking the index fingers of passersby for the indelible ink marked at the time of voting.

The youth were later chased away by the policemen.

“First things first – the gangs moving around trying to terrorise those who voted will not be tolerated”, Omar wrote on Twitter. “Action will be taken against anyone found trying to terrorise voters and the police have been instructed accordingly”, he added.

“Can’t have freedom to choose not to vote without allowing people who want to vote a similar choice”, he said. The security forces have increased patrolling in sensitive areas following the incidents in Baramulla district, officials said.

Meanwhile, hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who had issued the boycott call, appealed to people to maintain calm and not to indulge in group clashes. “We are brothers and clashes should not be allowed to happen at any cost. Who has voted and who has not, that stage is over now,” Geelani said. “I make a fervent appeal to people especially the youth to create a conducive atmosphere and not allow any civil strife in the valley,” he added.

A polling agent of Peoples Conference was thrashed and his clothes stripped off by a group of youth yesterday after as he was making rounds in Bomai village of Sopore and compelling people to vote in favor of his party candidate.   –Agencies

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