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India: Local elections to be held in Kashmir October 8-16

Local elections to be held in Kashmir on October 8-16; political protests and militant attacks possible in the coming days and weeks

06 Oct 08:13 PM UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 10/6/2018, 12:00 AM until 10/17/2018, 11:59 PM (Asia/Kolkata). COUNTRY/REGION India
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Event

Local elections will be held throughout Jammu and Kashmir in four phases on Monday, October 8, Wednesday, October 10, Saturday, October 13, and Tuesday, October 16. On those days, voters will head to the polls in different wards to elect local representatives. The two main parties in the region, the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC), and the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (JKPDP) have announced they will boycott the election in protest against Article 35A which would allow Indians outside of Kashmir to own property and work in the state's government. Political demonstrations, and associated transportation disruptions, are likely in the days leading up to the elections. A heightened security presence is to be anticipated. Attacks by militant groups targeting election-related events are possible throughout Jammu and Kashmir in the coming days and weeks.

Context

Article 35A gives the state legislature - Jammu and Kashmir parliament- the power to define permanent residents of the state and grant associated rights and privileges.

On October 5, suspected militants killed at least two members of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) party in Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir). Jammu and Kashmir is the only Muslim-majority state in Hindu-majority India. After independence from colonial rule (August 1947), India and Pakistan fought a war over the region of Kashmir. An insurgency started in the Indian Kashmir Valley in the late 1980s.

Advice

Individuals in Jammu and Kashmir are advised to closely monitor the situation and avoid all protests and other election-related events due to the possibility of violence. As a reminder, some Western governments advise their citizens against travel to parts of Kashmir, notably areas along the Line of Control (LoC), due to the significant risk of violence.

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