Militancy threat, additional security personnel to be deployed
Srinagar, Apr 12 (UNI) In view of the threat and poll boycott call by separatists, the authorities have decided to deploy additional security forces after declaring all the polling stations sensitive and hyper-sensitive in three assembly segements in north Kashmir district of Baramulla, where polling will be held on April 24.
All the 264 polling stations set up in Pattan, Rafiabad and Sangrama constituencies having 1,98,817 voters, which include 96,010 women voters, have been declared sensitive and hyper-sensitive following reports from different field agencies that militants will try to disturb the polling. One hundred and three polling stations were declared hyper-sensitive and 161 were declared sensitive.
''We are intensifying security arrangments in the entire north Kashmir, particuarly in the entire area under three Assembly segments, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir range K Rajinder Kumar told UNI.
However, he said, there was no plans to bring security personnel from outside the valley for election duty.
The police chief in Kashmir said mobilising more security force personnel within the Kashmir valley have started.
''We will be moving security personnel from different parts of the valley to these constituencies for free and fair elections,'' he said.
Security forces being deployed were in addition to the army, paramilitary forces and state police personnel who were already engaged in these areas for counter insurgency operations, he added.
''Our main aim is to provide free atmosphere to voters to exercise their franchise,'' he said adding that making the voters feel secured was the primary aim for the police.
Mr Kumar said there was no specific information about any particular target for militancy but there were general intelligence inputs that militants would try to strike during the election campaigns or on the day of polling.
''We are making all necessary arrangments to thwart any such attempt,'' he said.
About the boycott call by both the factions of the Hurriyat Conference (HC) and other separatist organisations, the IGP said action would be taken against anyone violating law of the land and added that nobody would be allowed to stop voters from exercising their democratic right.
The IGP said all the contesting candidates, irrespective of their party affiliation, were provided proper security during campaigning.
''We have provided them with Personnel Security Officers (PSOs)and two vehicles,'' he said.
There are 15 candidates in the fray for the by-poll. While four candidates each would contest from Pattan and Rafiabad, Sangrama would witness a fight between seven contestants. However, in Pattan, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Moulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari would battle it out against Sheikh Mustaffa Kamal of the National Conference (NC) to retain his seat.
Again in Rafiabad, PDP's Mohammad Dilwar Mir, seeking relection, is pitted against NC's Advocate Mohammad Maqbool Mir, BJP's Mohammad Maqbool War and Abdul Khaliq Sheikh of the Panthers Party.
In Sangrama, the NC has decided to support the independent candidate from Sangrama, Shoaib Nabi Lone, son of then Minister of State for Education Dr Ghulam Nabi Lone, who was assassinated by unidentified gunmen at high-security Tulsi Bagh area here on October 18 last year.
The PDP has fielded Javed Hussain Baig, the nephew of Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig, while three other independents -- Zafarullah Beigh, Abdul Rehman Lone and Ghulam Mohiuddin Bhat -- are also in the fray.
The by-elections in Pattan and Rafiabad have been necessitated following the resignations of sitting legislators -- Moulvi Ansari and Mr Mir respectively -- after they left the NC to join the PDP.
The bypoll in Sangrama was necessitated due to the killing of Dr Lone.
The polling would be held on April 24 while the counting of votes would be on April 27.