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Muslims in Mathura Accuse Authorities of Denying Them Right to Vote

Mathura Muslim Voters
Representational Image

In Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura constituency, Muslim voters allege that their right to vote was denied by booth-level officers during the recent Lok Sabha elections, while Hindu residents reported no such issues, as per a report by Scroll.

Jamrul Nisha, 74, claimed that none of her nine family members received a voter slip ahead of the polling day. Despite finding her name in the electoral roll at the booth, she was denied the opportunity to cast her vote due to a discrepancy in her name.

“In the booth, they told me that my name in the roll was only mentioned as ‘Jamrul,’ and not Jamrul Nisha,” she said.

The report highlighted an “odd consistency” in such incidents, noting that the electoral roll on the Election Commission website listed Jamrul Nisha’s full name.

Despite her attempts to rectify the issue, she faced taunts from police officers and ultimately left the booth without voting.

“I tried to reason with them, but the police officers there taunted me, saying, ‘Aren’t you too old to stand here and argue all day?’ So I left,” she said further.

The voter turnout in Mathura stood at 49.9%, the lowest in the last two decades and the lowest among all constituencies in Uttar Pradesh that went to polls. Muslim voters attribute this low turnout to various obstacles they faced, including poor distribution of voter slips and discrepancies in the electoral roll.

In contrast, Hindu residents reported smooth voting experiences, with Moolchand stating that his family did not encounter any hurdles and received voter slips on time.

Despite the city’s Hindu-Muslim tensions, exemplified by recent controversies over access to religious sites, several Muslim voters, including Mohammad Sabu and Shabir Ali, expressed frustration over their inability to cast their votes due to missing names in the electoral roll.

“I could not vote this time because the manager at the station said that my name is not on the roll. He went through files for 30 minutes, but he could not find my name,” Sabu said, adding “This has never happened in a Lok Sabha or a Vidhan Sabha election before.”

“We have five voters in our family. But only three of us could vote,” he said further.

Sabu lamented the 30-minute search for his name by the polling station manager, while Ali highlighted the confusion and mix-up in the voter list, resulting in several family members being unable to vote.

“We have eight voters in our family. But two of my daughters and two sons could not find their names in the list. We went to the polling station at 8 am and spent an hour looking for their names. The roll seemed mixed up,” Ali said.

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