More then 15,000 additional paramilitary forces have been mobilised for the first phase of parliamentary by-polls which are taking place on Sunday, as the clashes between forces and protesters were reported from south and central Kashmir.
The Election Commission has made unprecedented security arrangements for the Srinagar Parliamentary constituency which is spread over three districts — Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal. Police and paramilitary forces have been deployed in strength to check militant activities ahead of the polling.
Forces have laid a siege on the roads leading to Srinagar from both north and south of Kashmir, where frisking and search operations are back in view of the recent surge of militant attacks and the election boycott called by the separatists.
“More than 150 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed at polling station. In addition we are have certainly more then 50 companies in addition for street and area domination,” Chief Electoral Officer of Jammu and Kashmir Shantmanu told Firstpost. “We will ensure that the voter would feel safe and confident to come out of their houses and vote,” he added.
A total of 1,559 polling stations where at least 6,236 polling staff has been deployed, for Srinagar Lok Sabha seat. The fate of two candidates National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah and ruling PDP’s Nazir Khan, will be decided by 12,61,397 voters, who were eligible to cast their votes. The Srinagar-Budgam constituency in which the voters will seal the fate of nine candidates, including former chief minister and NC president, Dr Farooq, amidst tight security following three militant attacks in the summer capital in the last week.
“We have gone for area domination along the highway and checking of the vehicles was also been carrying out to foil any attempt by miscreants to derail the polls,” Shesh Paul Vaid, Director General of Police, told Firstpost.
The separatist groups have issued a poll boycott call and militant activities have also witnessed an increase during the past fortnight in the Kashmir Valley, particularly in Srinagar and south Kashmir, where polling in Anantnag parliamentary seat will be held on 12 April.
Reports coming in from Anantnag said militants fired at CRPF personnel deployed near the venue of the PDP rally in Achbal area. The rally was called off and police cordoned off the area.
On Saturday afternoon as the polling staff accompanied by government forces reached the main market Beerwah, in Burdgam district, scores of people started shouting anti-India slogans and pelted stones at them. The forces resorted to aerial firing, reports said.
Senior leader of PDP and minister in the state government, Abdul Rehman Veeri’s cavalcade came under attack in Bijbehara area in south Kashmir, after protesters threw stones at his cavalcade. No one was injured in the incident.
The patrolling party of the army has to resort to aerial firing after facing stone pelting in Shoipan district on Sunday. The patrolling party has just reached the village of Pinjura when hundreds of youth shouted pro-freedom slogans and started pelting stones.
“The army fired in the air and managed to flee from the spot. No one was injured but markets and roads are deserted,” Andleeb Ahmad, a resident of Pinjura village told Firstpost.
Updated Date: Apr 08, 2017 20:09 PM