12:15 GMT18 January 2021
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    On 5 August 2019, the Indian government stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomy, which had been granted to the Muslim-majority state under Article 370 of the Constitution. Since then, the conflicted region has seen months of lockdowns, curfews, and its internet and mobile phone access cut to curb potential organised violence.

    In a first since it lost its special status, Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday witnessed its first phase of polling in over a year. The District Development Council (DDC) election booths opened early in the morning, at 7:00 am.

    The voter turnout started off low, as parts of J&K are witnessing snowfalls.

    A total of 43 constituencies will be participating in polling today - 25 in Kashmir and 18 in Jammu. There are 280 DDC seats in the region - 140 each in the Jammu and Kashmir.

    Mask-clad voters of various age groups were seen getting their temperatures checked in the pictures that have emerged on social media. Take a look.  

    ​Up to 2,644 polling stations have been established across Jammu and Kashmir amid heavy security deployment and COVID-19-preventing measures put in order. The elections will conclude after eight phases.

    Before its abrogation last August, Article 370 of the Indian constitution gave Jammu and Kashmir special autonomy – allowing the state's legislature to make its own laws. It also banned people from outside the state from purchasing property and getting state government positions.

    The area has been a bone of contention between India and Pakistan, with two wars fought over Kashmir, since India gained independence from British rule in 1947.

     

     

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