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Provide adequate security to candidates in J

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 14 (UNI) The Election Commission has directed the Jammu and Kashmir government to provide adequate security for the candidates contesting the April 24 byelections in four militancy-infested assembly constituencies -- Rafiabad, Sangrama and Pattan in Baramulla district and Bhaderwah in Doda district.

At a meeting of the full commission, chaired by Chief Election Commissioner B B Tandon and attended by ECs N Gopalswamy and Navin Chawla here yesterday, the top civil and security officials from the state were directed to provide ''safe accommodation'' to the candidates.

Similar ''intensive security'' arrangements should also be provided to all the polling personnel, the commission said.

The EC also called for intensive area domination by the security forces in the four constituencies, especially in the light of the call for poll boycott given by different groups, so that public have the confidence to exercise their franchise in a free and fair manner.

The meeting, which was also attended by Financial Commissioner-cum-Secretary (Home) and the State's Director General of Police and the Chief Electoral Officer, reviewed the arrangements for the smooth conduct of the polls in the constituencies.

A large number of the 376 polling booths that would be set up would located in militancy affected areas and are ''therefore highly sensitive,'' the commission said.

The DGP assured the commission that adequate security arrangements were being made.

The notification for the byelections were issued on March 31 and the last date for withdrawal of nominations was April 10.

The Commission directed the authorities that all concerned should be sensitized to the provisions of the Model code of conduct and the J&K Preservation and Defacement of Property Act 1985 for their strict enforcement.

Videography of important/critical events should be done, the EC said. The polling personal should be constituted after the due process of randomisation, instructions for which already exist and that ''no poll related official of specified levels who is a native of the district or who has worked for three years, out of the last four years, in the same district where elections are scheduled, should continue at that place.'' The logistics for use of electronic voting machines for polling in all the 376 polling stations of the four constituencies was reviewed and the administration directed to ensure that proper training is imparted to all concerned.

It should be ensured that the EVMs ...etc etc Editors: Pl pick up from para one of DI23, ELECTION-J AND K.

UNI SU/SN VD DS1512

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