SRINAGAR, Sept 15 (2002): Authorities in Indian Kashmir braced for more violence during Monday’s first round of voting in a state election and said Islamic militants may be preparing to attack polling stations.
Defence sources told Reuters on Sunday the army had intercepted a radio call ordering militants to seize voter registration cards, possibly to help them enter polling booths for an attack.
Campaigning in the Himalayan territory, at the centre of a military stand-off between nuclear powers India and Pakistan, has been marred by violence and authorities say they expect Islamic separatists to strike on Monday to try to disrupt voting.
More than 300 people have been killed since the election was announced in early August, including a state minister gunned down on Wednesday and about two dozen party activists.
Underlining the tension, Indian and Pakistani forces fired mortars and small arms across their border overnight. Police said the firing occurred across the international border and the ceasefire line separating the forces in the disputed region, but there were no immediate reports of injury.
Moderate separatists are boycotting the election and Pakistan, which also claims Kashmir, has dismissed it as a rigged farce.
Jammu and Kashmir state police chief Ashok Kumar Suri has said he expects the separatists, who have pledged to derail the election, to strike.
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