Unprecedented security arrangements made for Kupwara polls

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Kupwara, Nov 29 (UNI) Unprecedented security arrangements have been made in all the five Assembly constituencies in this border district for conducting free, fair and peaceful polls tomorrow.

As many as 109 additional companies of the CRPF and BSF, besides hundreds of Jammu and Kashmir police personnel have been deployed in these constituencies to foil any attempt by militants and organisations opposing polls to disrupt the process.

Yesterday's fierce encounter in the neighbouring Bandipora district was disturbing for the authorities, who have now put the security forces on alert.

''We are still trying to ascertain whether the Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) militants, killed in yesterday's encounter, had infiltrated recently,'' official sources told UNI.

They said the CRPF, BSF and police personnel, specially for the poll duty, were in addition to the troops and other forces already deployed for counter-insurgency operations in these constituencies, spread over Kupwara district, once a hub of militants.

However, this time, the authorities were a bit relaxed, as there was no fear of shelling from Pakistani troops from across the border because of the ceasefire since 2003.

Majority polling stations set up in Machil, Teetwal, Karnah and Keran are under the direct target of Pakistani troops.

In the 2002 elections, polling stations in these areas were set up in safe zones, where there was no threat of shelling from across the border.

However, they said, ''We have not lowered the guards and security forces remain on alert to foil any infiltration attempt from across the border.'' Roads leading to Kupwara from Baramulla and Sopore have almost been closed for outsiders.

Security forces have put up barricades on these roads where all the vehicles were being searched and those travelling in them questioned and their identity cards checked.

Security forces said they have instructions not to allow any persons, accept the residents of Kupwara district, to enter the area.

This, official sources said, was being done following a call to people given by the Coordination Committee (CC), spearheading the anti-poll agitation in Kashmir, to reach Kupwara.

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